COVID-19 antibody test does not prove immunity

9 July 2020

Residents are reminded there is no evidence that COVID-19 antibody testing provides any proof of long-term immunity to the virus.

The reminder comes as some schools and other organisations have been targeted by private companies offering antibody tests for as much as £30 per person.

Extensive antibody testing for some patients, NHS and Health and Social Care workers, is being carried out across Cheshire and Merseyside. 

However, this is primarily for research and surveillance purposes at this stage - as there is currently no clinical benefit to knowing whether you have antibodies.

As well as not proving any type of immunity, the tests being offered by private providers are not fully validated and so the accuracy of the test is unknown.

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health for west Cheshire, said: "The message for residents, business and other organisations is that there is currently no clinical benefit to having an antibody test.

"We would not encourage anyone to seek out, or agree to, a private test as it is not certain to provide a reliable result and will not give them any indication as to any sort of immunity.

"The only validated way to have an antibody test is to go through an NHS service, which is currently prioritising some patients, NHS and key workers in health and social care. However, this still only shows whether you have had the virus, not if you are immune.

"The best advice is to only have an antibody test if you are asked to do so by your employer, GP or when in an NHS setting like a hospital. If you are asked to be tested, please ensure that is through official NHS Test and Trace channels."

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