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UK government offers COVID-19 antibody tests for the first time

Published: Updated:

The UK government on Sunday said it is launching a COVID-19 antibody test program for the first time, according to an official statement.

“Thousands of adults a day will be given free access to antibody tests through a new national surveillance program launched by the UK Health Security Agency next week,” the statement read, adding that the tests will help “improve our understanding of immunity against COVID-19 from vaccination and infection.”

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The program will offer antibody tests to UK adults who tested positive for COVID-19.

Anyone over the age of 18 will be able to take an antibody test when booking a PCR test through NHS Test and Trace, the statement said.

“If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, I urge you to opt-in to help us better understand the effectiveness of the vaccines and develop future treatments,” UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said in a tweet.

The data collected from the antibody test program “will help estimate the proportion of those who got COVID-19 despite developing antibodies as a result of having a vaccine or previously catching coronavirus” and provide insight on groups of people who do not develop an immune response, according to the statement.

The UK government clarified that testing positive for antibodies does not ensure immunity from COVID-19, urging people to continue to follow coronavirus precautionary measures and get tested if they have symptoms.

On Sunday, 32,253 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK.

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