International

UK Boots announces 12-minute Covid-19 tests

Boots plans to roll out a new coronavirus testing service which it says can deliver results in just 12 minutes.

The pharmacy chain said the LumiraDX swab tests will cost £120 and will be available across selected stores in the next few weeks.

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.

New COVID-19 testing service now available in Boots UK stores
Image:Boots is launching 12-minute Covid-19 tests

Managing director of Boots UK, Seb James, said the new tests aim to “ease pressure” off the NHS and government.

He stated that the tests are for people who do not have symptoms.

They are not yet accepted by airlines that require a negative Covid-19 test before allowing a passenger to board.

This is because the results are processed through an in-store machine rather than a registered laboratory.

There are hopes that the coronavirus test will be accepted by airlines in time, however, Mr James added.

The accuracy of the 48-hour test is over 99% and the 12-minute test is 97 to 98%, he said, adding that this was “slightly less accurate (than the 48-hour test) but not so much that it matters”.

“It’s a miracle of technology and I think it’s just the beginning of how technology is going to help us solve this crisis.”

Mr James said he hoped the price could be lowered in future as more people get tests and as new technology makes the process cheaper.

Customers who are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms can book an in-store test through the company’s website.

Boots is among the high street businesses to have suffered as a result of the pandemic, announcing significant restructuring plans earlier this year.

Mr James said that, with more people realising the importance of pharmacies, Boots has a “pretty rosy future”, adding: “We don’t have any plans for any further job cuts right now”.