Most Covid-19 patients get antibodies but immunity unclear: UK official

Government in discussions with Swiss pharmaceutical firm over antibody testing, says health secretary Matt Hancock


Reuters May 04, 2020
A healthcare worker administers a rapid, point of care pinprick coronavirus (Covid-19) IgM and IgG antibodies test at a myCovidMD free testing centre for under and uninsured people, founded by three black women doctors, in Los Angeles, California. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LONDON: Studies in Britain show that most people who have had Covid-19 develop antibodies, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said on Monday, but it was too early to say whether this gave them immunity.

“The overwhelming majority of people so far called back who’ve had definite Covid-19 infection have got antibodies in their bloodstream,” Van-Tam said at a daily news conference.

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“By and large the signal is that people get antibodies. The next question is, do those antibodies protect you from further infections. And we just haven’t had this disease around ... for long enough to know the answers to that with any surety.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that the government was in discussions with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche over antibody testing.

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