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New do-it-yourself COVID test kit is music to the ears of Czech orchestra

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By Louise Miner  & Jiri Skacel
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New do-it-yourself COVID test kit is music to the ears of Czech orchestra
Copyright  Jarba, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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A new do-it-yourself kit could provide hope for those who hate having a cotton swab stuck up their nose to test for COVID-19.

Developed by scientists at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, the self-test involves gargling tap water.

After gargling for around 30 seconds, the water is spat into a test tube that contains a special powder.

The test — which researchers say is as reliable as a nasal swab test — is then sent off to the laboratory.

Marian Hajduch, director of the university's institute of molecular and translational medicine, said: “The test tube contains a powder which helps to stabilise the virus for several days at normal room temperature.

"This is the main difference from other COVID-19 tests, where the samples have to be transported and kept at cold temperatures.”

It has been received praised from unexpected quarters, like the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, who say the new test has allowed them to rehearse and prepare for concerts without repeated nasal swab tests.

“The new method of testing is much more pleasant for the Philharmonic," said David Mareček, CEO of the Czech Philharmonic.

"Another indisputable advantage is also the frequency necessary in repeating the test: every 14 days, instead of five days for nasal swabs.

"In December, we’re looking at Advent concerts every Sunday until Christmas in our series Czech Philharmonic Live in Your Livingroom, and the reduced number of tests will ensure smoother rehearsals as well as the concerts themselves.”