The UK Government has announced the first UK-wide antibody surveillance programme which will be made available to the general public.
From Tuesday, August 24, adults can choose to opt-in when booking their PCR tests with NHS Test and Trace.
Of those who receive a positive result, up to 8,000 people will be sent two finger-prick antibody tests to complete at home and send back to a lab for analysis.
It is hoped the initiative will help estimate the number of people who test positive for Covid-19 despite either previously catching coronavirus or having been vaccinated.
Read more: Urgent appeal issued for people in west Wales to receive second Covid jabs before stocks run out
Additionally, scientists believe it could help identify those who do not develop an immune response.
Until now, antibody tests have only been available to specific groups for clinical or research purposes, or those working in professions such as in education, social care or the NHS.
Results will be used by the UK Health Security Agency to inform the Government’s ongoing approach to Covid-19 and provide further insight into the effectiveness of the vaccines against different variants.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “The UK government has launched a new antibody test to those who opt in when booking a PCR test in Wales, which will enable us to deepen our understanding of Covid-19.
“I’m proud that Wales, along with the other three UK nations, are collaborating on such an important programme and I urge everyone to opt in and take advantage of the testing available.”
How do the new at-home antibody tests work?
- You must take your first antibody test as soon as possible after testing positive for the virus, before the body has a chance to develop a detectable antibody response to the current infection.
- This test is to identify the level of antibodies the person had before the current infection.
- The second test must be taken 28 days after testing positive for the virus, to measure the antibody response to the infection.
Scientists hope this test will show how well vaccinated individuals boost their immunity after being infected and how this could change with different variants.
This does not mean individuals who have tested positive do not have to isolate. Current isolation guidance can be found .
Who can get an at-home antibody test?
- Antibody tests are available for people aged 18-and-over, who tested positive and opted-in when booking their PCR tests with NHS Test and Trace.
- Up to 8,000 people who opt-in and test positive will receive two antibody tests.
- Tests are available UK-wide
To get the latest email updates from WalesOnline for free, click .
Source: Wales Online