A 90-minute covid-19 test that the uk government has spent 161m on has been deemed highly effective in an academic review, as companies scrabble to bring their tests to market.

The test produced by medical tech company dnanudge was found to have 94 per cent sensitivity identifying all real cases and avoiding false negatives and 100 per cent specificity, which means it only picked up samples from people who were really infected with sars-cov-2.

The peer reviewed study was conducted by researchers at imperial college london.

Lawrence young, professor of molecular oncology at university of warwick, said the paper provided important validation of the covidnudge test that showed that it compares very well with standard laboratory approaches.

However, the test has not been validated for use in the community, meaning it was not the answer to universal mass testing, he added.

A number of companies are rushing to market claiming they have found the solution to mass testing amid mounting anger in the uk over shortages and backlogs.

But scientists have cautioned that there needs to be proper scientific evaluation of these tests to avoid serious public health repercussions.

The new research, conducted on a sample of 386 nhs staff and patients, found the test produced very few false negatives and no false positives.

Last month, the government purchased 5.8m dnanudge covid-19 tests, at a cost of 161m, to be rolled out in patient care and elective surgery settings. the test is being used across eight london hospitals, and is due to be rolled out at a national level.

The paper said there was some potential for it to be rolled out beyond clinical settings in prisons, transport hubs and offices but further studies would be needed before widespread deployment.

The test works by inserting a small nose swab from a patient into a handheld device, which then looks for traces of sars-cov-2 genetic material. while conventional pcr tests deliver results within 24 hours, the dnanudge test takes roughly 90 minutes.

Dnanudge was first founded by christofer toumazou, regius professor at imperial, and dr maria karvela to create a swab test that would provide users with nutritional guidance based on their genetic information.

Unlike some other tests that have come to market in recent weeks, it has been validated by the european commission, giving it a ce mark for sale in a commercial settings.

Its a really elegant piece of engineering that solves a problem weve been trying to solve for a long time, said professor graham cooke, lead author of the study from the department of infectious disease at imperial.

Earlier on friday, aim-listed uk diagnostics company novacyt released very positive half-year results which it attributed to sales of its covid-19 pcr test.

The company announced earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 49.4m, up from 200,000 the year before, as well as a 900 per cent increase in revenue to 72.4m.

The companys share price rose 2.7 per cent on thursday.