A game-changing £5 Covid saliva test which gives results in 15 minutes is odds-on to be available before Christmas, it was claimed last night.
Officials say the rapid, on-the-spot swabs will help keep offices and schools open during the second wave.
A negative result may also allow restricted Brits back to the footie, pub or theatre, according to a well-placed government source.
They could even help ease strict shielding guidelines and let families visit relatives who have been isolated in care homes.
Field trials of several swabs have begun across England after passing strict checks at government labs.
Students at De Montford and Durham universities are already using them, as well as children at three schools in the South.
Scientists claim they are on course to hit their target of trialling each swab test on 10,000 people in a matter of weeks.
A government source said: “They are pretty exciting. Rapid-turnaround, relatively inexpensive tests are the future. We have something that’s 15 minutes which is pretty close to being ready.
“These are not complicated. They are tests you can do at a university, school or workplace with no specialist training or equipment.
“I’d be very surprised if we were not in good shape by Christmas for these tests.”
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