Public Health England has approved a new COVID-19 antibody test to identify the presence of antibodies in affected blood samples.
Roche, the developers of the blood test, are understood to be in talks with the NHS and the UK government to begin a phased roll-out of antibody test kits in England as soon as possible. Tests would mainly be used on those in the NHS and social care settings to begin with.
Public Health England has reported a near-100% sensitivity rate, and Roche reports specificity of the new test at 99.8%. John Newton, the UK’s coronavirus testing programme coordinator, said:
“This is a very positive development because such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection. This in turn may indicate some immunity to future infection although the extent to which the presence of antibodies indicates immunity remains unclear.”
The Roche test has already been approved for use in the EU and the United States.