London and Berlin-based start-up Medbelle is offering private Covod-19 test kits at cost price – with the option for to ‘sponsor’ additional tests for key workers and people in need.

The digital hospital’s test uses a method of analysis approved and recommended by the World Health Organization known as RT-PCR. This involves taking a swab from inside the mouth and nose and sending it off to a lab to test for signs of the virus. This testing process is the same as used in the NHS, and the lab is United Kingdom Accreditation Service-certified. The lab has additionally already applied for specific Covid-19 certification with UKAS and Public Health England.

Medbelle is selling the tests for £225 – the price involved in the manufacture and distribution of the kits, and lab testing – and is limiting purchases to two tests per person. Purchasers can additionally choose to ‘sponsor’ up to 10 tests, which will be distributed to key workers and people in need.

Tests will be posted via Royal Mail, or can be couriered in London for an additional fee.

The company has provided free tests to surgeons redeployed to the NHS.

Medbelle founder Leander de Laporte said: “We have seen that even our doctors have a hard time accessing Covid-19 tests, despite fighting on the front line. To fight Covid-19 effectively, we need more tests to understand how the disease spreads and which measures we need to take. We are not doing this to make a profit; we want to do our best to support the NHS in these difficult times; to expand testing capacity and thereby add critical resources where they are needed.”