U.K. to launch new COVID-19 antibody test in the next two weeks
A new COVID-19 antibody test will e launched in the U.K. in the next two weeks.
The tests will be based on blood samples from patients, which will be analyzed for antibodies to show if someone has had the virus.
If the test result returns positive, it will be the first clue in establishing that somebody has a degree of immunity to COVID-19.
Trials are starting to get under way at four hospitals in England including the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire where they are confident of being able to handle thousands of the antibody tests every day from 1 June.
"If you have antibodies there then you have had that disease, that will help public health doctors decide how to unlock where we are going to go as a society, to see how many of us may have caught the disease, to see how many of us have antibodies to the disease," Sky News quotes Dr Martin Myers, a consultant clinical biochemist
"So it is really giving them the intelligence and information as to how many of us have had the disease."
The antibody testing will complement the ongoing COVID-19 testing which looks for whether someone has the virus at the time of the test.
Sky News reports Microbiologist Dr David Orr to say that it will still be hard to tell precisely how effective the antibodies are at killing the virus but the information that the antibodies are present could enable people to make better informed decisions.
"Especially in the healthcare system where some staff may have had it previously" he said.
"You might want to think about deploying those staff to look after patients who have the disease because they might have some protection."
The U.K is one of the world’s worst affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported more than 252,000 infections with over 36,000 deaths.