Exeter University teams up with private company to offer students same day Covid-19 tests

The Covid-19 testing kit that will be used at Exeter University Credit: Halo / University of Exeter

Same day rapid coronavirus tests will be provided for students and staff at the University of Exeter.

The university has signed a deal with a private company, Halo, to provide the saliva tests at campuses in Exeter and Cornwall, with both same day and next day results.

They will be offered to anyone with symptoms or who is seen as high risk and mean the students do not even need to leave their accommodation.

The tests use the same type of RT-PCR analysis that is used for national testing, and results will be fed into the national Test and Trace system.

The University of Exeter has introduced a number of measures to keep staff and students safe during Covid-19. Credit: ITV West Country

The University says it has introduced measures to protect the whole community - including providing face coverings, digital thermometers, Covid-secure buildings and protocols for staff and student behaviour.

It has also set up a Rapid Response Hub for all students and staff to report symptoms and request tests.

Sean Fielding, who has been coordinating the University’s testing plans, says, “We have been working hard to make our campuses and the communities around us as safe as possible.

"Offering rapid and reliable saliva tests is a simple way of encouraging more people to get tested and that will help us spot any potential problems early so we can take the necessary steps, working closely with local public health teams and health care providers.

"It’s a new service and we were keen to be one of the first organisations to lead this approach in the UK.”

Jonathan Biles, Chief Executive of Haloverify, says regular testing is the only way to really keep on top of the virus: “We have set up a quality controlled, very high throughput testing centre based at Imperial College London that can handle thousands of tests a week.

"We are delighted to be able to work with the University of Exeter to provide a bespoke version of the Halo service."  

The announcement comes as the Government issues further guidance to universities about the coronavirus pandemic: