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Gov’t unveils coronavirus antibody testing scheme

As of this morning – Friday May 22 – the present recorded case rely for COVID-19 (coronavirus) within the UK has hit 250,908 with 36,042 deaths.

Antibody exams can be obtainable to NHS and care workers, eligible sufferers and care residents in England to see if they’ve had coronavirus as a part of a brand new nationwide antibody testing programme introduced by well being and care secretary Matt Hancock.

The brand new antibody testing programme, which is to begin subsequent week, can be prioritised for NHS and care workers, and clinicians will have the ability to request them for sufferers in each hospital and social care settings in the event that they deem it acceptable.

‘Extremely correct’ lab-based antibody exams can be used to inform whether or not somebody has already had the virus, to offer correct knowledge concerning the antibodies they’ve developed in response, which ought to assist clinicians and scientists higher perceive the prevalence of the virus in several areas throughout the nation.

10 million exams have up to now have been secured in a ‘landmark deal’ with business, together with Roche Diagnostics and Abbott Laboratories, with additional agreements being negotiated with suppliers to produce tens of millions of laboratory-based antibody exams.

The federal government additionally pressured {that a} constructive check outcome for antibodies doesn’t at the moment imply that the particular person being examined is proof against COVID-19, and that there’s additionally no agency proof that the presence of antibodies means somebody can’t be re-infected with the virus.

A Public Well being England research, known as SIREN, is already underway to assist reply these questions and set up whether or not antibodies point out immunity to COVID-19. A pattern of 10,000 healthcare staff are being examined to look at any potential immunity to the virus.

“Our understanding of this virus will solely proceed to develop as new scientific proof and research emerge. This new nationwide testing programme is an important a part of that work,” stated Professor John Newton, nationwide coordinator of the UK COVID-19 testing programme.

“COVID-19 is a brand new illness, and our understanding of the physique’s immune response to the virus that causes it’s restricted. Progress is being made daily, however we don’t but understand how lengthy immunity lasts, nor whether or not having antibodies means an individual can not transmit the virus to others. It’s critical that everybody continues to comply with social distancing measures, taking part in their half to halt the unfold of an infection.”

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