RESIDENTS will be able to carry out coronavirus antibody tests at home within the coming weeks. 

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England (PHE), told the Science and Technology Committee that the public will be able to carry out coronavirus antibody tests at home.

She said 3.5 million tests have been bought and will be available in the "near future".

She added that the tests will also allow key workers - like doctors and nurses - to go back to work if they have developed antibodies.

The Prime Minister previously said a simple test for coronavirus could a 'total game-changer' in getting paid people back to work. 

Prof Peacock said a small number of tests would be tested in a laboratory before being distributed via Amazon and in places like Boots.

Meanwhile, Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's medical director, said the NHS could start testing hundreds of thousands of people per day for Covid-19 within a matter of weeks.

Prof Powis told LBC: "We want to get hundreds of thousands of tests ramped up in the next few weeks per day."

Asked to clarify whether he really meant hundreds of thousands of tests per day, Prof Powis said: "That's what we are aiming for. That is what we want to ramp up to, but remember this is a new virus and we're starting from scratch.

"All of this is ramping up and increasing as we speak but, yes, you heard me correctly, we need to get to hundreds of thousands of tests a day, and we will do that over the course of the next few weeks and we will be making tests available to NHS staff within the next few days."

Meanwhile, a coronavirus vaccine could be ready in as little as six months, although a timescale of 12-18 months is more likely in order to get through the testing stages and into mass production, Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, said.

Asked whether 12 months is the earliest possible time that a vaccine could be ready, he said: "I believe that six months is possible, but it needs a lot of things to fall in place in order for that to happen, including for the upscaling to go well, for the trials to be conducted in a way that allows us to demonstrate that there is efficacy."