Amazon and Boots to provide COVID-19 tests in UK – report

Consumers in the UK will be able to log onto either Amazon or Boots’s website to order a home test for delivery that will tell them whether they have had the coronavirus, according to a press report.

According to the report, Amazon’s tie-up with Boots is an important development in the effort against the coronavirus, as well as a landmark in the online retail giant’s move into healthcare.

The home test kit works by pricking the user’s finger for blood, which is tested for the presence of antibodies against the virus.

Results take around 15 minutes and a positive result indicates in theory whether a person has had the coronavirus and recovered, and is unlikely to develop symptoms again after becoming immune.

The UK government has also ordered 3.5 million of the tests and is assessing their accuracy before they are made publicly available.

Lucy Ingham, Technology Editor at GlobalData’s Verdict, said: “This is a key step in the UK’s fight against the coronavirus, but for Amazon, it also represents a fortuitous step towards its wider move into the healthcare space.

“Although the US tech giant has generally declined to discuss the matter, it has been widely acknowledged that Amazon is making a slow but ambitious bid to become a key player in the healthcare space, not only in the UK, but in key markets across the world.”

Amazon has not publicly commented on the story.

Mass testing is seen as the best way out of the current lockdown situation in the UK, with experts urging the government to adopt the “track and trace” approach used in South Korea to stop the virus spreading in the coming weeks.

Employees working for Amazon in the US, and its rival Instacart, have gone on strike demanding protective gear and hazard pay as they work through the pandemic.

Medbelle offers COVID-19 test

Digital hospital Medbelle is offering an in-home COVID-19 test at cost price to support the UK healthcare system, with the option for people to additionally “sponsor” tests for key workers and those in need.

The London and Berlin-based startup said its test uses a method of analysis approved and recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) known as RT-PCR.

Although each test costs £225, the company says this is cost price and is not looking to make a profit, aiming to ease the pressure on the health service and increase availability of testing.

The digital hospital’s test uses a method of analysis approved and recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) known as RT-PCR.

This involves taking a swab from inside the mouth and nose and sending it off to a lab to test for signs of the virus. This testing process is the same as the one used in the NHS, and the lab is certified by UK technical body UKAS.

The lab has already applied for specific COVID-19 certification with UKAS and Public Health England.

Tests will be posted via Royal Mail, or can be couriered in London for an additional fee.


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