New coronavirus test with results in minutes set for hospital trial

Covid-19 testing with results in minutes instead of days will be tried out in the NHS as part of a research programme.

Scientists from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester will gauge effectiveness of tests, which could be quicker, more convenient and more accurate, as part of a £1.3 million national programme.

The Covid-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR) – funded by the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, and Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation – will assess how new diagnostic tests perform in hospitals, general practices and care homes.

Currently, tests can take 72 hours to give results.

A research team will work with the Government and scientific advisers to identify which new tests could be most valuable in the NHS and then evaluate them in health and care settings including emergency departments, critical care and care homes.

Professor Rick Body, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Manchester, who is leading the programme’s study in hospitals, said: “By validating the accuracy of new clinical tests through CONDOR, we can get novel tests out across the health and care system that are more convenient for patients and get more accurate results.

“This will mean that patients get better care and we can make more informed, early decisions about how to control spread of the virus.”

He claimed the study could mean that clinicians are able to make fast, accurate decisions about a patient’s care – sometimes within minutes.

Between 10 and 20 new Covid-19 tests will be conducted at about 30 hospitals where patients are recruited for the study, which is expected to start by the end of the month.

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