KEY POINTS

  • Antibody testing determines if a person has been infected with coronavirus or is immune to it
  • Swiss manufacturer's new COVID-19 antibody testing has 100% accuracy
  • Official announcements regarding a large-scale rollout are soon to be made

The new antibody test developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical company has an accuracy of 100% in identifying if an individual has developed immunity towards COVID-19, according to an independent evaluation carried out by the Public Health England (PHE). This has been hailed as a "very positive development" in combating COVID-19 since such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection.

Roche’s serology test is designed to help determine if an individual has been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and if they have developed antibodies against it. Detecting these antibodies can point out if one has gained immunity against the particular pathogen.

“We were confident that good quality antibody tests would become available when they were needed. Last week, scientific experts at PHE Porton Down carried out an independent evaluation of the new Roche Sars-CoV-2 serology assay in record time, concluding that it is a highly specific assay with specificity of 100%,” Professor John Newton, national coordinator of the UK Coronavirus Testing Programme told NewsChain.

“This is a very positive development because such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection. This, in turn, may indicate some immunity to future infection although the extent to which the presence of anti-bodies indicates immunity remains unclear,” Professor Newton added.

Antibody testing is very important to counter the spread of the coronavirus infection and to understand who all have already been infected. Alongside the recent expansion of the UK’s swab-based COVID-19 testing capacity, they are also exploring antibody testing across the NHS and the wider public.

“We are delighted that devices are progressing through validation, and are actively working on our plans for rolling out antibody testing and will make announcements in due course,” NewsChain quoted Roche’s spokesperson.

The U.K. is in talks with Roche about a very large-scale rollout of their new coronavirus antibody testing. An announcement regarding Roche’s new antibody testing kit is expected in due course.

Due to the previously encountered problems with antibody testing in the country when millions of home testing kits failed to work, Roche said that they will make the announcements only when they are absolutely ready.

Roche The logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Feb. 1, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann