Home-use antibody tests could be approved 'within months'

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Home-use antibody tests could be approved 'within months'

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A coronavirus antibody test is currently undergoing ‘ease of use trials’ to determine whether it can be used by the general public, its manufacturer has said.

Abingdon Health said its Covid-19 rapid antibody test was the subject of an Ulster University trial involving around 2,000 volunteers, and hoped the findings would “allow the MHRA to provide the necessary approvals for it to be used as a home test”.

The company claimed this outcome was “expected in the coming months”.

It says the product has already received a CE mark approving it for use by professionals in the UK and EU, and that it will be available for mass distribution from the end of August.

The firm says it will produce 500,000 COVID-19 antibody tests a month from October and one million a month from January 2021, claiming that batch tests have shown the rapid finger-prick test to be 99.40 per cent accurate with results available in 20 minutes.

University of Warwick Medical School Virologist Professor Lawrence Youngsaid: “A routine, reliable and easy-to-use test for COVID-19 antibodies will revolutionise our understanding of the coronavirus infection. 

“For the first time it will allow us to get an accurate picture of who has been infected with the virus and help us to determine the level of protection induced by previous infection. 

“It will also be a vital tool in determining the efficacy of any vaccine, particularly timely as some of the vaccines are now entering large scale phase III clinical trials.”

UK health authorities say that while antibody tests provide valuable data on the spread of the virus, there are concerns that an individual who tests positive for antibodies may assume they are immune from future re-infection.

For this reason, the GPhC has said that no pharmacist may provide antibody testing services to the public.

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