UK-wide antibody testing program initiated for COVID-19-positive people


The government has announced that a UK-wide antibody testing program will be launched for people infected with the coronavirus.

The program aims to provide testing to thousands of adults per day to gain a better understanding of COVID-19 infection and antibody protection after vaccination and to obtain “important” data.

Starting Tuesday, anyone over the age of 18 from any of the four UK countries will be able to opt into the program when taking the PCR test.

Of those who test positive for coronavirus, up to 8,000 will undergo two finger-stab antibody tests, complete at home, and sent back for analysis.

The first should be taken as soon as possible after a positive result and the second should be taken 28 days later.

The UK Health and Security Agency, which runs the program, works with NHS testing and tracing services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and uses the results to monitor antibody levels in the UK as a whole. increase.

The Ministry of Health states that this is the first time antibody testing has become publicly available, and the plan can also provide insights into groups of people who do not develop an immune response.

This data will be used to inform an ongoing approach to a pandemic and provide further insight into the effectiveness of the vaccine against new variants.

Global COVID-19 Case and Death Infographic
Infographic of COVID-19 cases and deaths worldwide as of the end of August 2021. (Infographic PA Graphics / PA)

Participants should undergo the first antibody test as soon as possible after receiving a positive PCR result. That way, the body does not have time to produce a detectable antibody response to the infection.

The second test should be done after 28 days and measures the antibodies produced in response to the infection.

Dr. Jenny Harries, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Health and Security Agency, said:

“This innovative program is only possible thanks to the thousands of people who continue to support research on the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments every week.”

The announcement will be made as discussions continue on the deployment of booster jabs in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Chris Smith, a consultant virologist and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, warned the UK to “keep an eye on” the COVID-19 vaccination.

Smith said the decision on booster jabs should not be a “rash” [or] “Hurry,” and the government is considering a more “strategic” approach.

The government said that as of Saturday, another 104 people had died within 28 days of being tested positive for COVID-19, and there were another 32,058 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the lab in the UK.

Mike Bedigan