Millions of £5 coronavirus saliva tests with results in 15 minutes are hoped to be rolled out by Christmas, according to reports.

The quick tests would help keep offices and schools open and a negative result could also allow Brits back in the pub or theatre.

If rolled out they could also allow families to visit loved ones who have been shielding or in care homes.

The tests would reportedly work by taking a swab from inside the mouth or nostril then mixing it with a solution.

A few drops would then be put onto a stick and if the virus is detected a line would show up.

The quick tests would help keep offices and schools open (file photo)

A government source told the Sun : “They are pretty exciting. Rapid-turnaround, relatively inexpensive tests are the future. We have something that’s 15 minutes which is pretty close to being ready.

“These are not complicated. They are tests you can do at a university, school or workplace with no specialist training or equipment.

“I’d be very surprised if we were not in good shape by Christmas for these tests.”

Field trials of several swabs have reportedly begun in England (file photo)

The source added that these fast tests would be another dimension to the testing capabilities currently available.

Field trials of several swabs have begun in England after passing strict government lab checks, reports say.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “By trialling new technology such as the 15 minute lateral flow tests, we are building the foundations for a mass testing programme which could get our children back to school faster, or help our NHS staff return to the frontline.

“Both these and the saliva tests being rolled out in our NHS will give results there and then, without the need to send a swab off to a lab, and could offer quick reassurance to people that they are either not infected or need to self-isolate.”