More than 14,000 people are to take part in a new saliva test for coronavirus.

The 'no-swab' test trials will see GP staff and other essential key workers testing themselves over four weeks, starting today.

Saliva will be deposited into sample pots, and then collected by scientists to be analysed for current coronavirus infections.

The trials are due to begin in Southampton, with the hope they could be rolled out across the UK if successful.

GP staff, key workers, university employees and members of their households will be among the first groups to participate in the pilot, with test kits delivered either to their home or workplace for them to complete every week.

They should receive the results within 48 hours.

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UK Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Saliva testing could potentially make it even easier for people to take coronavirus tests at home, without having to use swabs.

"This trial will also help us learn if routine, at-home testing could pick up cases of the virus earlier.

“I am very grateful to everyone involved in the trial who is helping us develop our understanding of the virus which will benefit not only our but the global response to it.”

The UK Department for Health and Social care said these types of tests will help to increase the testing capacity for coronavirus, with initial results said to be "highly promising".

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The weekly tests are hoped to identify coronavirus cases earlier, including in people with no symptoms, or minor ones.

Those who test positive will then be required to isolate for one or two weeks in their homes.

Results will be shared with the UK Government's track and trace programme.