Virus particles

Deal struck to invest in UK-developed antibody tests

The UK Government has signed a deal with the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) for 1 million antibody tests, the Health Minister Lord Bethell has announced.

The home antibody tests will be rolled out as part of the government’s Covid-19 surveillance studies to help build a picture of how the virus has spread across the country and further develop our understanding of how antibodies work.

The test uses a finger-prick device and provides a result within 20 minutes, without the need to be sent a lab for analysis and therefore has no impact on testing lab capacity.

A range of British diagnostic companies have been involved in the production and manufacturing of the tests as part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium, set up at the start of the pandemic. The UK-RTC has been seen to demonstrate how, supported by government investment, the UK diagnostic industry is leading on the global stage in efforts to tackle the current coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Home testing is a powerful tool in understanding the disease and fighting its spread.

“So, we are thrilled by the RTC product, both for Britain and export markets around the world.”

Testing positive for antibodies does not mean you are immune to Covid-19.

Currently, there is no firm evidence that the presence of antibodies means someone cannot be re-infected with the virus. As such, it is vital individuals continue to follow national guidelines including and social distancing measures, getting a swab test if they have symptoms and wearing face coverings where required.

The antibody test has been evaluated by Public Health England (PHE) and this evaluation will be published in due course.

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