Wells residents warned over unapproved coronavirus antibody testing kits

By Tim Lethaby

16th Jul 2021 | Local News

Wells residents are being warned against buying unapproved coronavirus antibody testing kits.

The tests - designed to detect if people have had coronavirus and are now immune - are a key part of the Government's strategy to boost testing capacity to protect the vulnerable, support the NHS, and ultimately save lives.

But Professor John Newton, national co-ordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme, advises that there is currently no reliable antibody test.

And, he warns, unapproved tests could be misleading, by providing inaccurate or inconsistent results - potentially putting those tested and those around them at risk.

Professor Newton said: "Several reports have emerged of organisations seeking to purchase antibody tests for their employees, or of individuals purchasing these tests online for personal use.

"Antibody tests offer hope for people wanting to find out if they have had coronavirus, and are now immune and get back to work.

"But so far no country in the world, including the UK, has found a reliable antibody test."

The Government is working with several companies offering these tests and evaluating their effectiveness.

So far, antibody tests that have gone through the validation process have not proven accurate enough to be rolled out for public use, which is why the Government is backing industry efforts to develop a homegrown test.

Until then, the Government continues to urge everyone to follow the social distancing advice by staying home to protect the NHS and save lives.

"The Government, supported by world-leading experts and regulators, is continuing to work hard to rapidly deliver a reliable and accurate back-to-work antibody testing kit, to counter the spread of the virus and enable people to return to work safely," said Professor Newton.

"We are breaking new ground with this work every day and I am confident this major research effort will make a breakthrough.

"Until then, please don't buy or take any unproven tests.

"They may not be reliable for your intended use; they may give a false reading and put you, your family or others at risk."

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