Soton Uni is offering free COVID-19 tests to students

The tests are non-invasive saliva tests

The University of Southampton has announced it is offering free COVID-19 saliva tests to its students. It follows a successful pilot study earlier in the year and is part of a programme involving local schools.

The university’s student communications team tweeted: “We’re pleased to announce that we’re offering free, non-invasive COVID-19 saliva tests to our students returning to campus this term. This follows our successful pilot earlier this year and is one of the many ways we’re helping to keep the infection risk low in Southampton.”

A second tweet explained: “To take part, you must opt in by completing the form emailed to you. This is part of a programme also involving four local schools to trail testing in educational settings in Southampton”. The study is in partnership with Southampton City Council and the NHS.

In June, a university webpage explained: “Southampton will take a leading role in evaluating regular COVID-19 infection testing for whole households by assessing a new weekly home-testing approach using saliva samples.”

In the first part of the test weekly samples were collected from participants and their results were processed within 48 hours. If tested positive, the participant’s details were shared with the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

In July the university also announced it had trialed a drug that could help COVID-19 patients. The drug “may prevent worsening of COVID-19 in those most at risk”.

Southampton has also set up the Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund which has raised £635,745. The Fund “will accelerate our response to the pandemic, globally and in our own community”. It will also help develop potential vaccines, create innovative support technology, funding additional medical staff, and provide vital assistance to vulnerable students in need.

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