A new antibody test that can discover if someone has been infected with COVID-19 has officially been certified for use in Europe. The test is said to be 99% accurate.

When your body has been exposed to a foreign pathogen like a virus its automatic response is to create antibodies, which are proteins that help fight off illness. An antibody test can discover whether antibodies exist in a person’s blood. If positive, that means the person most likely had the virus.

This test will be incredibly helpful in verifying whether workers may return to work. It will also aid scientists in understanding the virus better.

Developed by global diagnostics specialists, Abbott, the antibody test has been given a CE mark which means it complies with EU safety rules and may be used in labs across the UK.

Speaking to The Independent, Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said that the tests are ‘very significant’. The tests were more than 99% accurate in identifying that over 1,070 negative samples did not contain any coronavirus antibodies.

“Abbott has been focused on bringing Covid-19 tests to market as quickly as possible to help address this pandemic,” said Mike Clayton, managing director of Abbott’s northern Europe diagnostics division.

“We are proud to be able to provide our antibody tests immediately as they will help understand who has had the virus, leading to greater confidence as we get back to living life. We are collaborating with the NHS, public health bodies and private laboratories across the UK to enable this test to be used here.”

The tests are expected to be shipped out in millions across Europe by the end of May. Widespread testing will most likely be rolled out for both infected and recovered patients across the UK and could be available for the public by early June.

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