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Matt Hancock today unveiled plans to offer coronavirus antibody tests to all NHS and social care staff from next week. The Health Secretary made the announcement at the Government’s daily coronavirus briefing. Speaking from Downing Street he set out further details about a deal on the supply of the tests following negotiations between the Government and a leading pharmaceutical firm.
The tests, which are being rolled out by pharmaceutical giant Roche, will be free for people who need them, with medics and care workers the first in line to get one, according to the Prime Minister’s official spokesman.
Confirming the news, Mr Hancock said: “As our understanding of the disease improves, the insight these tests can give us is critical.
“We’re backing developments to develop our own homegrown antibody tests.
“For the public at large to know whether they have the antibody, we need tests at scale.”
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Coronavirus antibody tests to be given to all NHS and social care staff from next week (Image: BBC/GETTY)
Two lab-based products produced by Roche Diagnostics and Abbott Labs have been given a positive. (Image: BBC)
He continued: “Two lab-based products produced by Roche Diagnostics and Abbott Labs have been given a positive evaluation by PHE and approved by the MHRA.
“Three further tests are being assessed right now.
“I can announce today that we have signed contracts to supply, in the coming months, over 10 million tests from Roche and Abbott.
“From next week, we’ll begin rolling these out in a phased way.”
“From next week, we’ll begin rolling these out in a phased way.” (Image: BBC)
The Health Secretary added: “At first, to health and care staff, patients and residents.
“The UK Government has arranged supplies of these tests on behalf of the devolved administrations.
“Each devolved nation is deciding how to use its test allocation and how testing will be prioritised and managed locally.”
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SYMPTOM CHART (Image: EXPRESS)
Mr Hancock told viewers: “This is an important milestone and it represents further progress in our national testing programme.
“It’s not just about the clinical advances these tests can bring, although obviously that’s important.
“It’s that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us to understand more in the future.
“If you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, of dying from it and of transmitting it.
“We’re developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test.”