Covid-19

Coronavirus antibody test: what is it and how does it work?

Laboratories across the world are working on the production of coronavirus antibody tests that quickly indicate if the tester has contracted the Covid-19 virus previously.

Coronavirus antibody test: what is it and how does it work?
Thomas Peter REUTERS

An antibody or serological test is used in the detection in ascertaining if an individual has contracted the Covid-19 virus previously and can also detect if the person in question has subsequently recovered.

The fifteen minute test involves a finger-prick procedure with the blood quickly analysed to determine if coronavirus antibodies have been generated thus gaining a higher level of immunity to future infection.

UK based daily The Telegraph maintain that the British government have purchased over three million of these finger-prick tests and with the tests set to be available for purchase in the future via Amazon and the Boots chain with an expected retail price of approximately seven euro.

Hancock advocates social distancing

Speaking ion the BBC last week, UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock told BBC’s Today Programme: “The antibody tests are important as scientists say they are more important later as we are trying to come out of the extraordinary social distancing measures, the lockdown, because it is on the way out that you then know how many people have the immunity. At the moment, the most important thing for getting out of this as soon as possible is for people to follow the social distancing rules.”

UK Prime Minister Remains In Intensive Care With CoronavirusLONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves 10 Downing Street after today's C-19 committee meeting on April 8, 2020 in London, England. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a second night in the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital after his coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms worsened on Monday night. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Some countries, such as South Korea and Germany, have successfully tested far more people than in other countries, these tests are in most cases the much slower saliva based swab tests.

Live coverage of the coronavirus crisis

You can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic by following our daily live blog.


The complete lowdown on Covid-19

Check out our in-depth guide to the coronavirus pandemic.