Aug 22, 2021 - Health

U.K. launching COVID antibody surveillance program

 Staff at University Hospital Monklands check a patient's medical notes of a Covid positive patient on the ICU ward on February 5, 2021 in Airdrie, Scotland.

University Hospital Monklands staff check the medical notes of a COVID-19 patient in February, Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

The British government announced Sunday that it's launching a national surveillance program to measure antibodies in people who test positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: The U.K. Health Security Agency said in a statement that its program would improve understanding of immunity and the protection provided by antibodies generated following coronavirus infection and vaccination.

  • It would also help in the understanding of reinfection rates and breakthrough virus infections.
  • This is the first time antibody tests have been made available to the general public in the United Kingdom.

How it works: The agency said that from this Tuesday, home antibody tests would be available for up to 8,000 people a day across the U.K. for free through the National Health Service's "test and trace" program.

  • These would only be available to people who test positive for the virus and opt into the program.
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