Boots rolls out 12 minute COVID-19 tests
High street pharmacy Boots is to roll out a coronavirus testing service in selected stores across its retail network. Customers will be able to access tests which provide results within 12 minutes in-store. LumiraDx, the diagnostics company, will be the provisioner of the test kits for use in the selected stores. These tests have an accuracy of 97-98% in picking up positive cases of the virus through nasal swab samples.
The tests are not yet approved for use in airport testing, meaning they cannot be used as a proof of a negative result for passengers flying with airlines that demand this before passengers travel abroad. This is due to the fact that the results are processed in-store and not in a registered laboratory site. Managing director of Boots UK, Seb James, said the new tests aim to "ease pressure" off the NHS and government. Non-symptomatic people will be the target of the tests, which should help the UK move towards wider testing of asymptomatic people than is currently available.
Customers who are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms can book an in-store test through the company's website. Boots itself is one of many businesses to have been hard-hit by the pandemic-triggered economic downturn in 2020. It has had to respond to the new challenges posed by the virus’s spread through a restructuring of its operations. At present, it does not foresee any further job losses to be made in the future. The chain has also launched a 48-hour testing service in 10 stores in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it plans to extend this to more than 50 outlets nationwide. The accuracy of the 48-hour test is higher than that of the 12-hour one, at 99% in comparison.