New antibody test ‘100% accurate’, says Public Health England

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A new antibody test to determine whether people have ever been infected with coronavirus is 100 per cent accurate, according to Public Health England (PHE).

Boris Johnson has previously said this type of test would be a “game-changer” as it may reveal how many people have had Covid-19 and therefore may now have some immunity.

PHE has now said that scientists at its Porton Down facility had conducted an independent evaluation of a new antibody blood test developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company, Roche.

The examination found the test to be “highly specific”, with an accuracy of 100 per cent in detecting people who had ever had Covid-19.

Health minister Edward Argar told talkRADIO the development was “really positive news”.

Speaking with Julia Hartley-Brewer he said: “PHE are giving the green light to a test that they think is reliable and will give people that assurance, whether they’ve had the virus or not.

“The level of immunity that gives you is still being scientifically debates but it looks like it does give you a level of immunity.”

Mr Argar said discussions are ongoing with Roche about when the test could be rolled out, adding that when it is available, testing front line health workers should be a priority.

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