Scots will be offered a free anti-coronavirus antibody test from next week as part of a new national surveillance program launched by the UK Health Security Agency.
The test will measure people’s response to Covid-19 infection and estimate the proportion of the UK population that contracts the virus despite developing antibodies as a result of a vaccine or a previous infection with the coronavirus.
From Tuesday August 24, Scots over the age of 18 will be able to choose to receive an antibody test when booking a PCR test through NHS Track and Trace.
READ MORE – New apartment development in Edinburgh to open with cinema, gym and private dining area
Up to 8,000 people who register and then receive a positive PCR result will receive two finger-prick antibody tests to complete at home and return to a lab for analysis.
It is hoped that the initiative will help to understand why certain groups of people do not develop an immune response.
The findings will help the UK Health Security Agency to gain further insight into the effectiveness of vaccines against different variants.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs Sajid Javid explained: “Our new national antibody test will be quick and easy to participate, and in doing so, you will help strengthen our understanding of COVID-19 as we cautiously return to a more normal life.
“I am proud to see all parts of the UK unite around this new initiative and work together to arm us with even more valuable information on how COVID-19 vaccines are protecting people from top to bottom across the country. UK.
“Our phenomenal vaccination program continues to build a massive wall of defense across the country – already preventing an estimated 24 million infections and over 100,000 deaths in England alone. I urge everyone across the UK to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “
Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox
Any adult interested in participating in the study is encouraged to enroll as soon as possible after receiving a positive PCR test.
The government said it was important that the test be done “before the body has had time to generate a detectable antibody response to the current infection.”
Participants will also be offered a second test 28 days after testing positive for Covid-19 which will measure the number of antibodies from the recent infection, with the two results then compared.
A positive test for antibodies does not mean a person is immune to the coronavirus and Britons must continue to follow the rules, get tested if they have any symptoms and self-isolate if they are positive or are contact of a positive case and have not received the two doses of vaccine, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Director General of the UK’s National Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, said:
“We are deploying antibody tests across the UK to obtain vital data on the impact of our vaccination program and on immune responses to different variants of COVID-19.
“This innovative program is only possible thanks to the thousands of people who continue to contribute to studies on the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments every week.
The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated. I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet shown up to book their first and second jabs.