A private clinic is offering coronavirus tests for nearly £400.
The Private Harley Street Clinic, Westminster, has been given permission by the NHS to carry out the pre-screening test that looks for nine viruses including COVID-19.
Founder and medical director Dr Mark Ali insists it is not a replacement for the NHS test but rather a pre-screening tool for £375.
It is understood to be the first to carry out the procedure outside the NHS, reports MyLondon .
Dr Ali told the site: "The decision is a massive game changer for individuals and companies. We test for 9 viruses including MERS, SARS and Influenza.
"It is a very comprehensive test. You might find out you have something else, even if not coronavirus, such as influenza which can also be treated.
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"It's not a rival diagnostic test that is going to supplant NHS testing. Rather, its a pre-screening tool that employers and private individuals can use.
"On the basis of a positive test, which will get reported to NHS England, the patient will then be retested and treated as deemed appropriate by the NHS."
He added: "You only have to look at Italy where a few weeks ago just a few hundred people were diagnosed and now there are over 10,000.
"The number infected in the UK could be 10-20 times or more."
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Dr Ali began making enquiries to find out how they could facilitate testing for individuals and companies, and is now in a position to offer thousands of patients the chance to be tested.
Initially the NHS said that all tests must be done centrally so private practices were unable to offer the service.
However, Dr Ali has now teamed up with a private laboratory which has been given permission by the NHS to conduct pre screening test that looks for nine viruses including the Covid-19 virus.
The turn around for the test is five days and patients will be able to carry out the procedure at home.
The test is posted to people's homes where they can swab themselves, place it in a box and then post it back to the clinic. The clinic must share the results with the NHS.
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The clinic has the capacity to test thousands of patients and expects the procedure to be popular with companies as well as with individuals.
As well as offering the test Private Harley Street Clinic have also setup a 24-hour helpline to support customers with any problems or queries.
Dr Ali thinks that offering the test is useful in that it may take the strain to some extent off the NHS as well as potentially diagnosing cases that may otherwise have been missed.
Currently in the UK there are 590 confirmed cases in the UK, including 136 in London.
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