Antibody testing programme to be launched across the UK for Covid positive people
At a glance: 5 key points
- From Tuesday (24 August) anyone over the age of 18 who has contracted coronavirus from any of the four UK nations can opt in to the antibody testing programme.
- The programme, which will offer tests to thousands of adults per day, aims to improve understanding and gain “vital” data about antibody protection following Covid infection and vaccination.
- Of those who test positive for coronavirus, up to 8,000 will be sent two finger prick antibody tests to complete at home and send back for analysis. The first must be taken as soon as possible after the positive result, and the second must be taken 28 days later.
- The Department of Health and Social Care says it will be the first time antibody tests have been made available to the general public, and the scheme could also provide insight into any groups of people who do not develop an immune response.
- The announcement comes amid ongoing debate over the rollout of booster vaccine jabs in the UK. The Government said a further 104 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, and there had been a further 32,058 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.
What’s been said?
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the programme will build on the “massive wall of defence” that is the UK vaccination programme.
“Our new national antibody testing will be quick and easy to take part in,” he said.
“By doing so you’ll be helping strengthen our understanding of Covid-19 as we cautiously return to a more normal life.
“I’m proud to see all parts of the UK uniting around this new initiative and working together to arm ourselves with even more valuable insights into how Covid-19 vaccines are protecting people up and down the UK.”
UK Health Security Agency chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “We are rolling out antibody testing across the UK to gain vital data into the impact of our vaccination programme and on immune responses to different variants of Covid-19.
“This innovative programme is only possible thanks to the thousands of people who continue to help with studies on vaccine and treatment effectiveness each week.
“The best way to protect yourself and those around you is by getting vaccinated.
“I encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to book their first and second jabs.”