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Friday, 26 June 2020 12:44

Coronavirus: Volunteers wanted for antibody test trials

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photo : bbc

Volunteers are being sought from NHS staff and other public service workers for a study into the effectiveness of Covid-19 antibody home testing kits. A number of the rapid response kits are to be studied, including one from a consortium including Oxford University. The test to see if someone has already had coronavirus has been described by the prime minister as a game changer to get people back to work. Public Health England has begun looking for 2,500 volunteers for the study. Experts have questioned the usefulness of the tests because little has been known about whether antibodies protect people from the virus but the government said the study would help its understanding of Covid-19. A Department of Health spokesman said that no reliable home test has yet been found, and they do not know whether antibodies indicate immunity from reinfection or transmission. In March, the government bought 3.5 million antibody home tests but scientists at Oxford University found they were unreliable. Public Health England (PHE) has since launched a separate study of 10,000 healthcare workers which involves antibody blood tests to learn more about immunity to the virus. PHE has been planning to recruit 2,500 volunteers to see how effective and easy tests would be to use, with initial results expected in late summer//BBC

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