Fast-turnaround testing on campus

Information about arrangements for fast-turnaround Covid-19 testing on campus

Fast-turnaround testing for Covid-19 will be available at the University’s Loughborough campus from Friday 27 November.

This testing programme is for Loughborough University students, staff and Doctoral Researchers who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 but need or wish to know whether they are Covid-19 positive or not.

It is an optional and free of charge service but is very much encouraged.

The University is also offering PCR tests for students who intend to travel internationally. These can be booked using the same form detailed below.

Please note that if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should book in for a test through the existing route via the University’s Connect and Protect service.

About the fast-turnaround test

It is called a lateral flow antigen test and it detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. The test is designed to detect the level of virus in people who do not experience and show any symptoms (i.e. they are asymptomatic), but who could still be infectious and pass the virus to others.

The test produces a result within 30 minutes and does not require a laboratory to be processed.

Who should book a test?

You should book a lateral flow antigen test if you do not currently have any symptoms of Covid-19, but you need to prove or wish to know whether you are negative or not. This is open to everyone but will be particularly important for:

  • Students who need to travel overseas and require a negative test confirmation in order to travel.
  • Students, staff and Doctoral Researchers travelling on public transport.
  • Students, staff and Doctoral Researchers who have underlying health conditions that may make them more vulnerable
  • Students, staff and Doctoral Researchers who have family and friends at home, who have underlying health conditions that may make them more vulnerable or are classed as clinically vulnerable. Information about the conditions that may make someone more vulnerable to Covid-19 is available on the NHS website.

How to book a test at the University

Tests will be carried out at the Martial Arts Centre on the Loughborough campus. The testing centre is open from 9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday from the 27 November.

To make an appointment for a test you should book in through the existing route via the University’s Connect and Protect service but stating you are asymptomatic.

You will receive an email with your time, appointment details and instructions for taking the test.

After your test has been carried out, you should return home/wait for your result.

Your result will be provided for you in writing via NHS SMS/email (depending on what you register) and you will receive an email from the Asymptomatic Testing Centre.

Frequently Asked questions

Will I have to take one of these tests in order to go home for Christmas?

You will not be required to take a test, but you should consider one, especially if you will be mixing with family and/or friends who may be more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Students may also need to take one if they are planning to travel overseas and require documentation to prove that you are Covid-19 negative.

You should also take a test if you are planning to travel back on public transport.

If my result is negative can I leave campus straight away?

Once the national lockdown is over (from 2nd December), yes, we would recommend that you do in order to reduce your risk of coming into contact with someone who may be positive.

What do I need to do if I get a positive result?

You will need to self-isolate for 10 days, in line with NHS procedure.

What if someone in my household at University tests positive?

The government has put in place some special arrangements for the Christmas period.

From 2 December onwards, if one of your household tests positive they will need to isolate as above. You must book yourself a test. If you test negative you will be able to travel back home.

If you test positive you will need to isolate for 10 days in Loughborough before travelling home. We will continue to support isolating students as we have been through the Autumn term.

Do I need to tell anyone if I have a positive result?

The Asymptomatic Testing Centre will inform Covid Logistics and the NHS track and trace is automatically updated.

Can I go to my family home to self-isolate if positive?

You and other members of your household (who test positive) should remain in your term-time accommodation for the duration of your self-isolation.

When should I get tested in time to return home for Christmas?

You should ensure you have been tested by 13 December at the very latest. This will allow you time to self-isolate for 10 days, should your test result be positive, and travel home for the Christmas period.

I need a certificate for my flight to show that I am Covid-19 negative – can I get that with this test?

Yes, if you are a student. When booking in for an asymptomatic test you will be asked whether you need a certificate for a flight. If you answer yes, you will be referred through to Connect and Protect team who will book you in for a PCR test. A certificate will be provided.

It is important to check with your airline/country you are travelling to what requirements are needed and if there is anything specific you need on your certificate.

If my friends and I all test negative, can we then get together?

You will need to comply with the retrictions in place for the region. Details are available on the Government website.

Can my friends and family access these tests at the University?

These tests are open only to students and staff at Loughborough University.

What’s the difference between this test and the test currently being used for people who have symptoms?

The test more commonly being used to test people with symptoms is known as a PCR test. This looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid or RNA) and require a laboratory to be processed.

The test being offered as part of this programme to asymptomatic people is a lateral flow antigen test that detects the coronavirus antigen produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These are quicker tests, producing a result within 30 minutes, and do not require a laboratory to be processed.

I've heard that you should take two lateral flow tests. Why are we only having one?

Two Lateral flow tests (LFTs) a few days apart are being offered. The reason for this is that LFTs are not as accurate as other tests at picking up the very early stages of a Covid 19 infection, but they are very good at identifying more established infections, when people are more likely to be infectious. Having two tests a few days apart statistically reduces the chance of a false negative significantly and also means that the test is more likely to be performed at the optimum time of infection to maximize the possibility of detection.

I’ve heard that these tests can sometimes give a positive result, even if you don’t have Covid-19?

There have been concerns about the reliability of lateral flow tests. A review by Oxford University found they could pick up 76.8% of cases, rising to over 95% for people with high viral loads, their sensitivity has been lower in “real-world” scenarios. When mass-testing of the public was trialled in Liverpool, accuracy fell to 58%. This means accuracy was lower in a situation where the public were administering their own tests with little training. The void rate on the tests is seen to be indicator of how well the tests are being performed. We have an extremely low void rate, it is fair to assume that our detection rates are closer to the laboratory standard results.

Additional FAQs about returning home for Christmas are available on the Office for Students website.