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Viral infections

Boots signs up for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing pilot

The pharmacy chain is joining a pilot to evaluate the effectiveness of testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 who work in “high-contact” jobs.

Open access article

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has made this article free to access in order to help healthcare professionals stay informed about an issue of national importance.

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Boots pharmacy


Boots is joining a pilot to evaluate the success of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for people in “high-contact” jobs

The pharmacy chain, Boots, is one of several employers taking part in a pilot to evaluate the effectiveness of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for people in “high-contact” professions.

The pilot, launched by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on 10 July 2020, will evaluate the effectiveness of testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 who work in such jobs, including pharmacy.

The targeted, asymptomatic swab testing will be run by central government, local authorities and a number of employers, including Addison Lee, BT, Mitie and Boots UK, and it will also target taxi drivers, cleaners and shop workers.

Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots UK, said: “Once again, our amazing colleagues are demonstrating their unfailing commitment to the NHS and are volunteering to be tested when asymptomatic to help the DHSC learn more about COVID-19, and to further protect themselves, their families, colleagues and customers.”

A press release from the DHSC said that each business involved in the pilot would receive “thousands of tests” for staff via home test delivery or a mobile testing unit, while local authorities will book times for asymptomatic testing at their walk-through local test sites.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate as normal and follow national guidance. Positive results will be shared with NHS Test and Trace, in order to identify recent contacts, advise them to self-isolate and prevent further transmission of the virus.

“We are committed to continually improving NHS Test and Trace, to reach more people at risk of passing the virus on as quickly as possible,” said Dido Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace.

“I continue to applaud all those who have played their part, got a test after experiencing symptoms, and responded to the service. I urge anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow the advice they receive to protect their families and communities.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208176

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