The new test will initially be available to NHS health and care workers, before being extending out more widely to those who require it.
The Roche COVID-19 antibody test, which detects prior exposure to the virus, was approved by PHE earlier in May. The test is already commercially available in the UK, retailing at around £70, but a deal has now been struck to commission it for NHS use.
This initial deal is for the purchase of 10 million tests, to be issued based on a scale of priority, starting with health and care workers. It is thought that testing will be available as early as 25th May. Commercial details around the deal have not been published.
Some public health sentiment remains cautious however, following the purchase of other antibody tests by the NHS, which were later deemed ineffective.
The test will assist in providing data on population immunity, asymptomatic infection rates, understanding how long immunity to the virus may last, or if there is a potential for re-infection.