Public Health England (PHE) have approved the first coronavirus antibody test, which could be vital in ending the UK’s lockdown.
Scientists say the test is 100% accurate and Porton Down evaluated the antibody tests at their facility last week.
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche developed the finger prick blood test and has been described as “highly specific,” as it hunts antibodies in the blood to identify if the person has had Covid-19 and now holds some immunity.
Professor John Newton, national coordinator of the UK Coronavirus Testing Programme, said: “We were confident that good quality antibody tests would become available when they were needed.
“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%.
“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 anti-bodies indicates immunity remains unclear.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokeswoman said, “Antibody testing is an important part of our strategy to counter the spread of Covid-19 and to help us understand who has had the disease.
“In addition to the recent huge expansion of the UK’s swab-based coronavirus testing capacity, we are exploring the use of antibody testing across the NHS and ultimately the wider public.
“We are delighted that devices are progressing through validation and are actively working on our plans for rolling out antibody testing and will make announcements in due course.”