MY MAIL bag was bolstered to a four item zenith last month, courtesy of the presence of a letter followed soon after by a neatly packaged Covid-19 test kit.

It was something of an intriguing prospect. It all began with a random letter offering the opportunity to take part in a study on behalf of independent research organisation, Imperial College London.

I felt I should take the punt of placing my genetic code on the database, and give it a go.

My brother had paid mega bucks for a background DNA test last year. Not only had this revealed he/we were 51 per cent north African and 14 per cent Italian, but also that we were pumped full of Neanderthal DNA.

With that in mind, I felt certain a virtual carbon copy of my saliva and snot was already lurking in an American laboratory somewhere and decided to commit myself to the Covid trial.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Within three days of me agreeing to take part, a kit arrived with several components — an instruction booklet, sheet of labels, sealed pack containing a swab and plastic vial, biohazard bag, return box and a security seal.

A brief skim of the instruction manual assured me this would be quick and painless. A swab of the tonsils followed by several rotations of each nostril.

Before the fun began it was recommended to book a courier to collect the sample, which I did for the following day. The courier was slated to arrive at any time between 9am and 5pm.

Not touching tongue with swab proved a mission in itself, rotating the end across each tonsil invariably resulted in a subsequent glance upon the soft patty before withdrawal, ensuring stage one had to be replicated around four times before finally I successfully snuck the apparatus out without compromise.

There was no time for resting on laurels though, with the swab now pushed into each nostril and rotated for 15 seconds. It felt peculiar.

After several rotations I removed the swab to end credits of violent, eye-watering sneezes, eventually able to place the item into the vial provided and snap it at the end to fit.

Once it had been bagged, labelled, boxed and sealed, the package was ready to go into the fridge.

The courier arrived at noon, reassuringly nonchalant about the whole visiting-potentially-unwell-people part of the process, standing as he did inches from my front door without a mask, gloves or any other PPE.

I kept my distance, flicked the door open and left the package on the side for him to grab.

I didn't feel nervous about the results, on the contrary, the idea of finding out if I had coronavirus felt like a positive step, albeit hopefully not a positive test.

The results arrived by email six days later and were negative. I'd always felt confident I didn't have coronavirus and, as an asthmatic, physical symptoms would likely have been discernible.

It is the decision of the individual if they partake in the study, but it is a surefire way of getting clarity should the opportunity arise.