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Rapid tests combining Covid and flu detection rolled out

The Government is to begin rolling out the use of two new rapid coronavirus tests in hospitals, care homes and labs from next week.

Both tests will reportedly be able to detect both Covid-19 and other winter viruses including flu within 90 minutes. According to the Department of Health and Social Care they do not require a trained health worker to administer them and so can be used “in more non-clinical settings”.

A DNA-based test manufactured by DnaNudge is expected to help hospitals carry out 5.8 million tests in the coming months, while 450,000 of Oxford Nanopore’s 90-minute swab tests will be rolled out across adult care settings and laboratories from next week.

The DHSC says this will “hugely increase testing capacity” ahead of any winter spike in illness and will help clinicians and NHS Test and Trace to distinguish between Covid-19 and other winter viruses, ensuring the right individuals are advised to self-isolate.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’re using the most innovative technologies available to tackle coronavirus. Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will provide on-the-spot results in under 90 minutes, helping us to break chains of transmission quickly.

“The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.

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