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Home tests launched for covid antibody surveillance

Home antibody tests are being made available in a bid to understand more about the Covid-19 infection.

Up to 8,000 people a day will receive tests through NHS Test and Trace if they take a PCR test that gives a positive result.

The finger-prick antibody tests are posted for them to complete at home and send back to a lab for analysis.

NHS Test and Trace
NHS Test and Trace

The data collected will help estimate the proportion of those who caught Covid-19 despite developing antibodies as a result of having a vaccine or previously catching coronavirus.

The initiative could also provide insight into any groups of people who do not develop an immune response.

It will also provide insight into the effectiveness of vaccines against different variants.

NHS Test and Trace app
NHS Test and Trace app

Antibodies are part of the body’s immune response to help fight off infection and are generated either after being infected or following vaccination.

Antibody testing looks for evidence of this immune response.

Until now, antibody testing has only been available to specific cohorts for clinical or research purposes, and to some people working in professions such as in education, social care or the NHS.

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