A BOLTON-based online pharmacy is offering coronavirus testing to the public ­— at a cost of up to £119.

Treated.Com is selling testing kits to the general public.

Yesterday the Government announced the general public showing symptoms can be tested for coronavirus, but the antibody test will only be rolled out to NHS staff and hospital patients under new guidelines.

Two kits are available ­— one to test if someone currently has the virus and another to check if a person has previously been affected by covid-19.

The online pharmacy, which is based at Astley Bridge, says it is also donating 100 tests to staff working on the NHS frontline ­— with the public having the opportunity to contribute to a test for a NHS worker.

The testing kit for coronavirus costs £119 per test, but users have the option to pay £189 and donate £50 towards an extra test for an NHS front line worker. Treated.com will then make up the difference and make an extra test available .

The antibody tests, which have only recently come on to the market cost £49.

Dr Daniel Atkison, Treated.Com clinical lead said: “The Coronavirus crisis is obviously a fast-moving situation.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer this lab testing service for coronavirus widely to the public, especially in light of recent issues where unapproved antibody tests have been circulating illegally. We also wanted to find a way to help contribute towards the national effort. We hope that by donating 100 tests to NHS front line workers, and launching the initiative enabling members of the public to assist in sponsoring, that we can help make a small difference.’

“This testing service, backed by a UK pathology lab that uses the same testing methods as NHS laboratories, enables people to take a swab sample at home, and send this off for analysis. It screens for active infection at the time of the swab being taken.”

To check for coronavirus the person will be asked to collect a sample from the nose and mouth, which is posted back to the laboratory to be analysed, with a two to three day turnaround once it has been received.

The antibody test is via a blood test.

The pharmacy says that pharmaceutical manufacturers Roche and Abbott were recently given Government approval for antibody tests. Treated.Com is providing the test manufactured by Abbott.

Dr Atkinson said: "The covid-19 antibody test is a blood test. The kit comes with everything you need to take a small sample of blood from the finger and post this back to our partner pathology lab, based in the UK.

"If somebody tests positive using this test, it means their blood contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-19. This means they have been exposed to the virus previously. The antibodies we’re looking for are the IgG type, these develop two weeks after exposure, so there’s a “window” of two weeks after covid-19 infection during which this test would still be negative.

"We should stress though that a positive result doesn’t change how you should behave in reducing the risk of transmission. We can be fairly confident that covid-19 antibodies offer some protection against getting re-infected but we can’t say how much protection is offered or how long this protection lasts. So even if you have coronavirus antibodies, you should still keep to guidelines on social distancing, and self-isolate if you get sick.

"This test is over 99 per cent accurate conditional on: samples being collected by the patient exactly as instructed, and the test being performed 14 days or longer after the start of symptoms.

The NHS will roll out the new antibody test to hospital patients and staff under new NHS England guidance.