New antibody test '100% accurate'

A test to check whether a person has previously had coronavirus has been praised by Public Health England after it was found to carry a 100 per cent rate of success when it came to ruling out false positives – paving the way for people to potentially see if they have built up an immunity to Covid-19. The tests, developed by Swiss firm Roche, have already been given the green light in the US, with UK officials now reportedly in talks to rollout millions in the UK to check how aggressively the virus has spread through the country, according to The Times. ____________________________________________________ More on coronavirus: ____________________________________________________ Professor John Newton, the national coordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme, said in a statement that Roche’s highly specific test served as a reliable marker of previous infection. When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet). This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu andCOVID-19. Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities. Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. When grocery shopping, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly after touching any frequently-touched surface or object, including coins or banknotes. “Last week, scientific experts at PHE Porton Down carried out an independent evaluation of the new Roche Sars-CoV-2 serology assay in record time, concluding that it is a highly specific assay with specificity of 100 per cent.” Antibody testing was dubbed a “gamechanger” by Boris Johnson in the early days of the UK outbreak, carrying the potential to confirm the spread of the virus through the nation as well as potentially assuring people of their immunity. However, while buoyed by the high accuracy of the newly approved test, officials have been keen to note that the science remains unclear on exactly how immunity to the virus works. Professor Newton added “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 Department of Health and Social Care is reportedly in negotiations with Roche to buy millions of the kits.