Drug testing lab AlphaBiolabs has launched a coronavirus testing kit for UK businesses which it claims gives results within 15 minutes, by identifying the presence of the Covid-19 antigen.

The company says the test has an accuracy rate for identifying Covid-19 specific antigens of up to 97.6%, and can detect Covid-19 after the onset of symptoms or from 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.

Once samples have been taken from the nose and throat, the result is known within 15 minutes. No lab analysis is required, as the result is made known via a portable immunoassay screening cassette.

A grey line appears if the Covid-19 antigen is present. If the grey line appears, the firm said the tested individual should follow government guidance on quarantining and self-isolation.

The new test, which works in similar fashion to a pregnancy test, detects specific proteins, known as antigens, which are situation on the cell membranes of the virus.

The Warrington-based testing firm said it believes the kit to be the first of its kind to be made available to companies across the UK to help them amid limited testing availability.

It is the latest addition to AlphaBiolabs’ portfolio of coronavirus testing services for businesses. The company is already providing Covid-19 PCR testing at its new laboratories at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire.

AlphaBiolabs’ complete kit costs from £40 plus VAT and includes GDPR-compliant documentation and policy advice.

David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said: “The instant testing devices may not be as accurate as ‘back to lab’ PCR testing but they are faster, more cost-effective, do not require laboratory analysis and are certainly fit for purpose.

“We have been overwhelmed by the demand from our corporate partners in the first few weeks of our lab-based PCR testing operations at Sci-Tech Daresbury, which provides results within 24 to 48 hours.

“The test can be self-administered or be carried out by a company’s occupational health team or our sample collectors.

“While the instant Covid-19 antigen Test and the Covid-19 PCR test are both effective methods for detecting the presence of the virus, the instant antigen test delivers quicker results.”

David added: “Demand for coronavirus tests is significantly outstripping capacity across the UK.

“This is the first instant Covid-19 antigen test kit in the UK to help workplaces deal with the shortage of ‘back to lab’ PCR tests.”

Drug testing lab bolsters offering amid lockdown surge