- All NHS and care staff in England will be offered a test, with patients and care residents eligible at their clinician’s request
- Accurate and reliable lab-based antibody tests will improve understanding and data on COVID-19
- Devolved administrations will decide who is eligible for tests in their jurisdictions
Antibody tests will be available to NHS and care staff, eligible patients and care residents in England to see if they have had coronavirus as part of a new national antibody testing programme announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
Tests will be prioritised for NHS and care staff, and clinicians will be able to request them for patients in both hospital and social care settings if they deem it appropriate.
The new antibody testing programme, which will start next week, follows the substantial expansion of the UK’s swab testing capacity, which saw the creation of the country’s biggest network of diagnostic labs completed in record time. Swab testing confirms whether or not someone currently has the virus that causes COVID-19.
Under the new programme announced today, highly accurate laboratory based antibody tests will be used to tell whether someone has already had the virus, to provide accurate data about the antibodies they have developed in response. The information will help clinicians and scientists to better understand the prevalence of the virus in different regions across the country.