THE LAMP test for detecting COVID-19 is now accepted for those wishing to enter Spain from a risk country, the Olive Press can reveal.

In the official state bulletin from December 10, 2020, the Ministry of Health stated that, in addition to the PCR test, the TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) test and ‘other molecular detection techniques’ are now valid for travellers to Spain.

This raised some confusion, as the TMA test is not yet available in the UK (or indeed in many countries) and there was no specific mention of the LAMP test, which was recently approved by the UK government.

However, the Ministry of Health told the Olive Press earlier today that the LAMP test is also valid.


Like the PCR test, the LAMP (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test detects genetic material (RNA) from the virus and is carried out using a swab from the nose or throat.

According to an evaluation carried out by NHS trusts and universities, it is ‘accurate and sensitive enough to be used for COVID-19 testing, including for those without symptoms.’

“The OptiGene RT-LAMP test was found to have a sensitivity of 79% and specificity of 100%, meaning the test is effective in identifying the cases who are infectious and are most likely to transmit the disease,” researchers said.

“In samples with a higher viral load, the sensitivity of the test increased to 94% for saliva and 100% for swabs.”

Importantly for travellers, it is also cheaper and produces results faster than the PCR test, because it is performed at a constant temperature.

The LAMP test can be booked at London Heathrow, Manchester, London Stansted, and East Midlands Airports, where it costs £79 and gives results in under 90 minutes. 

You can book a LAMP test up to four weeks in advance at London Heathrow and up to two weeks in advance at the others.

Travellers still have to obtain a negative result within 72 hours of arriving in Spain.

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