Covid-19 coronavirus: United Kingdom hopes boosted by breakthrough test
May 23 2020
Germany, one of the first countries to order millions of tests from Swiss drug giant Roche, said it would not use them until they had been debated by the country's top ethicists.
This means it has 100% sensitivity.
The new test can identify people who have had coronavirus even if they have never had any indication they are infected.
The tests will start to be rolled out next week, starting with health care workers, patients and nursing home residents.
He also said trials had begun of a separate COVID-19 swab test by the United Kingdom company Optigene, showing if users now have the virus in less than 20 minutes.
What kind of COVID-19 test can you get?
He told the government's daily briefing: "The UK government has arranged supplies of these tests on behalf of the devolved administrations and each devolved nation is deciding how to use its test allocation and how testing will be prioritised and managed locally".
Powis also said that experts are yet to determine whether having having antibodies would protect someone contacting coronavirus.
There has been some suggestion that immunity could last for two to three years but more work needs to be done.
"We're developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do". The testing sites include urgent care centers, small family practices, large medical centers, public health centers and popular pharmacy chain stores.
It is hoped the test will become available to the wider public, although it is unclear how and when this will happen.
- What is the major benefit of the testing? A dozen companies have already been reviewed and authorized by the FDA to sell the tests after meeting requirements for accuracy and reliability.
With a population of 8.9 million, the data mean roughly 1.5 million Londoners have had the disease during the crisis and produced antibodies that will fight the virus if they encounter the disease in the future.
The new test, which has been proven effective in clinical settings, does not need to be sent to a laboratory to be processed and can return results within 20 minutes.
Special chemicals called reagents are then added to it and if Covid-19 antibodies are present, the chemicals trigger a light reaction which a machine detects.
Earlier the Prime Minister's spokesman said the tests would be "free for people who need them, as you would expect".
"We have seen a high level of collaboration and engagement from developers who want to get this right", said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in a statement.