Coronavirus: UK government deal secures 10 million 'game changer' antibody tests

	Superdrug criticised over £70 coronavirus anti-body test			 0					By		LLB Reporter		 		at				12:00

SUPERDRUG is the first high street shop to start selling coronavirus antibody tests to the public.

Despite the test being approved by Public Health England, NHS England has since warned the public not to buy antibody tests now on the market as experts are still "evaluating" the accuracy of Covid antibody tests.

"We're launching a Covid-19 antibody test because we're confident of its accuracy and reliability", explains Superdrug's healthcare director Michael Henry.

A new COVID-19 antibody test will e launched in the the next two weeks.

It requires a finger prick blood sample, which is then sent off to the lab. So, in theory, the test can tell much sooner whether someone has the virus.

The statistics reveal that the antibody test will detect positive antibodies 97.5 per cent of the time. This test will help public health leaders take a true count of how many people across the USA have been infected with the virus, including those who never had any symptoms of the virus and never received a molecular test.

Superdrug emphasises that social distancing measures must continue, even if users test positive for the antibodies. Several COVID-19 testing sites in Philadelphia have begun offering antibody tests to people who have gone more than 10 days without symptoms after contracting the virus. However, experts are still warning people to be cautious not just of the accuracy of tests now available but of what immunity even means.

The most widely available and commonly known test for coronavirus is a molecular test.

The test has a sensitivity of 97.5%. Sites in Philadelphia are still prioritizing tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who are hospitalized, have chronic medical conditions, reside or work in congregate settings, are essential workers, or are close contacts of those in cluster cases.

In April, however, Professor Karol Sikora, a private oncologist and Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham, validated a test kit using samples from staff at his clinics, which were then verified by a private lab. "Diagnosis of a current COVID-19 infection involves a different type of testing which is also available at Fast Pace Health".

"The antibody test is not meant to determine if a patient has a current infection", the release states. A positive result shows that you have had the infection, but we do not yet know how likely that means you are to be protected from future infections, or how long those antibodies will last.

"What we don't absolutely know at the moment is whether having antibodies and having the antibodies that are tested in those tests means that you won't get the virus again".

Once the results are sent through from the lab, Superdrug online doctors will be able to review them and send a confidential secure message to the patient through their online account informing them of the outcome.

"Until we are absolutely sure about the relationship between the antibody test and immunity we as scientists would say we need to tread cautiously going forward".

"Any antibody test at present can only provide a partial picture, echoed Gino Martini, Chief Scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society".

He told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday: "We can also see from other coronaviruses, from ones that cause coughs and colds, that individuals again do seem to not have particularly long-term immunity to many of those viruses, allowing them to get reinfected later".