Anyone over 18 years of age is eligible for the program and would be sent two home antibody tests, provided their PCR test is positive. The rule will be implemented from this Tuesday. Up to 8000 people will be sent the antibody tests as a part of the new program. The aim would be to find out more about how much natural protection people have after getting COVID-19.
The UK health Security Agency is to run the program and the NHS test and trace services in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would work alongside it to monitor the results in positive cases and formulate additional policies for the nation.
How Would it Work?
Anyone who is tested positive can opt for the antibody tests. After which they will be given two home antibody tests. The first one will be the finger prick test and should be taken as soon as the positive result comes out. Since the body would not have enough time to generate a detectable antibody response to the infection. Thus, it would provide a clear picture of antibodies on day one of the infection.
The second test is supposed to be done 28 days later and would measure the antibodies naturally generated in response to the infection in the body. Thus, it would provide vital insights into the impact of the vaccination program that has been carried out magnificently. Additionally, it would also provide knowledge about the immune system responses to the different variants of COVID-19. According to UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid:
Our new national antibody testing will be quick and easy to take part in, and by doing so you'll be helping strengthen our understanding of COVID-19 as we cautiously return to a more normal life
It is the Next Big Step
This new initiative study has been welcomed by everyone as it would only make life easier and the fight against the virus could be handled better. Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf believes:
It is vital that we have the fullest understanding possible of vaccine effectiveness and the immune response of the broader population.
The rollout of this antibody testing study will help us achieve this and could play an important role in the battle to keep the virus under control.
Antibody tests had been previously used in the UK. However, it was only available for a small group of people. Mostly the people taking part in surveys and studies had access to these tests. Further, the agency warned that testing positive for antibodies does not mean that people are immune from COVID-19. They must continue to follow the rules, self-isolate, and get tested if they have continued symptoms. It also encouraged more and more people to get fully vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus.