Skip to main content

Coronavirus: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 82482, tabled on 28 August 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on the development of a robust and reliable antibody test for covid-19; and what the timetable is for that test to be rolled out to the general public.

Answered on

12 October 2020

We believe a national antibody testing programme may provide a critical role in the next phase of this pandemic. We are already offering antibody tests to National Health Service and care staff in England, with patients and social care residents eligible at their clinician’s request. We are also using antibody tests to support research studies.

In order to better understand the role that an antibody test could play in our response to the pandemic, we need to improve our understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus that causes COVID-19. We do not currently know how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot transmit the virus to others. Our understanding of the virus will grow as new scientific evidence and studies emerge.