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Reading residents called on to help improve coronavirus testing

The University of Reading is asking for the public's help to ensure home antibody testing for coronavirus gives accurate results.

It's launched the Improving Covid-19 testing project, which will involve teams examining how people follow instructions on home tests similar to the kind used for the virus.

They will then look at how changing the types of instructions could produce more accurate findings.

The Uni is now asking residents to either take part in the trials or donate towards the costs of the work.

Dr Al Edwards, who is leading the research with support from University of Reading experts, said: "The University of Reading has put its skills and resources into action to help tackle the coronavirus crisis.

"Now we need your help to do even more."

The Associate Professor in the Reading School of Pharmacy continued: "There is a pressing need to develop COVID-19 antibody tests that can be conducted at home.

"Having home tests avoids the need for a medically-trained person to take samples, freeing up healthcare workers to do other vital work, and preventing them from coming into contact with potentially infected people.

"Equally important is for tests to be easy for anyone to access, ideally without having to visit a hospital or test centre.

"The UK government is committed to supporting home testing for COVID-19 antibodies. But because COVID-19 is new, there are currently no safe and approved protocols in place for home testing.

"It is absolutely vital that any test is accurate and safe, and that people know exactly what they need to do to produce a reliable result."

Experts in healthcare communication, as part of the project, will make sure instructions are presented in the most helpful way and explore if video tutorials will influence accuracy.

Those interested in volunteering or donating toward the project can find out more here.

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