Coronavirus has upended work and social life in the UK in a way that is unprecedented outside of wartime. With no vaccine at the ready, the UK government has had to enforce a nationwide lockdown, urging people to stay at home. The economic and social ramifications of this measure are gradually becoming apparent.
“This may include people who were not initially identified as having COVID-19 because they had no symptoms, had mild symptoms, chose not to get tested, had a false-negative test, or could not get tested for any reason,” notes Harvard Health.
The health body continues: “Serologic tests will provide a more accurate picture of how many people have been infected with, and recovered from, coronavirus, as well as the true fatality rate.”
As it points out, serologic tests may also provide information about whether people become immune to coronavirus once they’ve recovered and, if so, how long that immunity lasts.
This will be crucial to kickstarting the economy and public life as it may be used to determine who can safely go back out into the community.
“Scientists can also study coronavirus antibodies to learn which parts of the coronavirus the immune system responds to, in turn giving them clues about which part of the virus to target in vaccines they are developing,” adds Harvard Health.
How close are we to rolling out these testing kits?
The Telegraph reported today that the Government had been hoping to roll out millions of antibody tests in the coming weeks, but supplies from China have so far failed to pass sensitivity and specificity tests.
It has also been revealed that ministers will attempt to recoup taxpayers’ money spent on the finger prick tests after an Oxford University trial found they returned inaccurate results.
Furthermore, 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.