Boots to launch 12-minute Covid tests costing £120

The service is available as a private pre-flight test for customers who require one before travelling abroad, or as a solution for those who would prefer peace of mind before seeing friends and family.

Boots is set to launch a new coronavirus testing service that can return results in just 12 minutes.

The pharmacy chain said the LumiraDx devices, which are able to quickly process swab tests to give customers same-day results, will be rolled out in selected stores over the next few weeks.

Boots will charge £120 for the rapid test – though this cost could fall depending on demand.

“We don’t want to make a profit out of it. We are just covering our costs as there is a big upfront outlay for all the kit,” said Seb James, managing director of Boots.

“Once it becomes more accessible in terms of cost, it could be a very important weapon in the armoury against Covid.”

The £120 fee covers third party laboratory testing, courier services, digital services, staff wages and VAT.

Those who suspect they may have Covid-19 are advised to visit an NHS testing station.

Boots has also launched a 48-hour testing service, which is currently available in 10 stores across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with plans to extend the programme to more than 50 outlets across the nation.

Mr James said the programme was being implemented as a way to help ease pressure on the nation’s health services.

“Boots has supported the government’s Covid-19 testing programme from the very start and offering this new in-store service is the next step in our efforts to fight against the pandemic,” he said.

“We hope that by offering this testing option in local community stores, Boots can help ease pressure on the NHS and the government by providing additional access to testing and crucial reassurances for people across the UK.

“As part of the UK high street for over 170 years, Boots is proud to serve on the front line alongside the NHS and we will continue to do our part to support the nation’s healthcare needs during this challenging time and beyond.”

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

Dr Julian Tang, an honorary associate professor in respiratory sciences and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, said: “These types of rapid antigen tests have been used for years for other respiratory viruses like influenza and RSV – and are of variable sensitivity.

“They perform better on samples with high viral loads – such as those taken early in infection, and in children who usually shed more of those viruses for longer.”

He added: “Just based on the data supplied in their LumiraDx manufacturer product specifications, its performance appears to be as good if not better than other similar rapid antigen tests for other respiratory viruses like influenza and RSV – at least on paper.

“However, some additional evaluations should really be performed in a real-life, in-store situation to confirm this level of performance. This is normal for any newly introduced laboratory diagnostic kit.”

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