Antibody test will be rolled out to NHS workers next week – as Govt agrees deal with Roche – The Sun

NHS workers will be the first to get antibody tests as the "game-changers" are rolled out next week – after the Government agreed a deal with Roche.

The test will be free of charge to those who need them, No 10 confirmed today.

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Healthcare workers at four hospitals across the UK, will be the first to discover if they have already had Covid-19 – before they are rolled out more widely.

The PM's spokesperson said that as well as NHS staff, care workers would get priority. Health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to reveal more details later today.

Blood samples will be taken from a patient and analysis will show whether or not they have had the virus.

Official figures show more than 35,000 people have died due to the coronavirus and the new test will help provide information on the level of immunity some patients have towards the virus.

But experts have cautioned that given Covid-19 is a new disease, we still do not know how long any antibodies may protect a person against reinfection.

Way out of lockdown?

Royal Preston Hospital will be one of the trusts to receive the kits and experts have said they will be able to perform thousands of tests per day from June 1, 700 tests a day are currently being completed in Preston.

The tests will help the lab understand how many people in the population is affected and it will then become part of a nationwide track and trace initiative.

Made by Roche, it is set to compliment current antigen testing that involves a swab and tells you if you currently have the bug.

The trust in Preston welcomed the new testing capabilities and Dr Martin Myers, consultant clinical biochemist at the hospital said it will help public health doctors decide how to unlock where we are going as a society.

It comes after Superdrug yesterday became the first high street shop to sell a home test for Covid-19, with kits selling out within hours of being added to their website.

NHS England’s medical director Stephen Powis did however urge caution with regards to home tests warning it's not known “how good they are”.

Speaking to Sky News he added that it will also be able to see how many of us have the disease and how many of us have antibodies to it.

"So it is really giving them the intelligence and information as to how many of us have had the disease."

This is while microbiologist Dr David Orr said the tests will make better informed decisions but said that it will still be hard to tell how well the antibodies are killing the virus.

In a statement the  Department of Health and Social Care in England said: Antibody testing is an important part of our strategy to counter the spread of COVID-19 and to help us understand who has had the disease.

"In addition to the recent huge expansion of the UK's swab-based coronavirus testing capacity, we are actively developing our plans for antibody testing across the NHS and ultimately the wider public."


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