Public health advisory – Private antibody testing
As reported by BBC London News, Hammersmith & Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group and Hammersmith & Fulham Council are aware that a commercial business in the borough is offering antibody tests for coronavirus for a fee.
This company is not an NHS centre – it does not have council approval or endorsement, however, it does not require it to operate.
Currently, there is no government approved finger prick antibody test for coronavirus. The government has also advised against reliance on the results of antibody tests available from high street suppliers, and asked retailers to stop selling these kits until the science is clearer.
Tests are still being developed and there are none that have been proven to work for widespread public use as required by the government.
Watch the BBC London report
What the government says about testing
The government's position on testing is as follows:
"As with everything we are doing to tackle coronavirus, we need to be led by the science. An unreliable test is worse than no test.
"We need to make sure that all the tests we use are validated, reliable and provide an accurate result.
"We also need to understand the quality of new tests such as the antibody test before we start using them in order to avoid putting people at risk by suggesting they are no longer susceptible to coronavirus.
"We are working with a number of companies to evaluate tests and this validation is ongoing - but the science is new and uncertain. This shows the importance of having a rigorous process in place and checking every step for accuracy and reliability.
"The Chief Medical Officer discourages in the strongest terms organisations from buying their own unvalidated antibody tests."
Public Health England guidance on testing
Public Health England guidance also states:
"Even if a test has a CE mark, it may be of limited use. The link between the presence of antibodies and immunity is not currently certain, and some tests are not specific for COVID-19 antibodies.
"A positive test result for antibodies does not necessarily mean that the person being tested is immune to COVID-19."
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