The tests will be introduced in hospitals, nursing homes and laboratories in the UK from next week.
“We are using the most innovative technologies available to deal with the coronavirus. Millions of new rapid tests for the coronavirus will provide on-site results in less than 90 minutes, helping us quickly break the transmission chain,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement.
Pandemic experts say it would be useful to distinguish between the various flu-like illnesses that spread during the winter months, and the rapid detection of any of them could help isolate patients and any treatment.
The department said the tests “will significantly increase pre-winter testing capacity by providing fast results that will help break down transmission chains quickly.”
A test – performed by Nudgebox machines supplied by DnaNudge – will analyze DNA in nasal swabs and give a positive or negative result for Covid-19 in 90 minutes, the health ministry said.
The other – called the LamPORE test – will process swab and saliva samples to detect the presence of Covid-19 in 60 to 90 minutes. The government did not release full details on the accuracy of the tests, but said the LamPORE test had “the same sensitivity as the widely used PCR swab test.”
In recent months, the global medical community has sought to achieve faster results to stop the outbreak of the epidemic.