Despite the UK Government’s idea to provide people with home antibody coronavirus kits, the medical experts are raising red flags suspecting the sensitivity and specificity of these made in China kits.
According to the Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham, Professor Karol Sikora, the testing kits are not too helpful when it comes to detecting whether someone has had the virus or not. After taking blood samples from the staff, it turned out that the ones that were previously tested positive to COVID-19 came back negative, eliminating the possibility for massive usage of the tests.
Last month the UK Government purchased a 3.5 million finger prick antibody test mainly from manufacturers from China, while recently there was a new order of 17.5 million home test kits from nine companies, including some from the UK.
None of these companies’ tests were approved for mass use by Oxford, yet a lot of people are insisting on buying them. However, Public Health England had said the test would be first tested in labs before distributing them via Amazon.
The UK Government has not released official information on the cost of the tests, but experts assume it would be in the interest of all if the kits can be purchased at an affordable price. Available and affordable tests are extremely important for regulating the virus rates in the UK and allow society to come back to normal.
Also, if the antibody testing kits show accurate results, they can help easily detect the people who had developed immunity to coronavirus, and allow them to return to work and socialize again.
The UK is not alone in this game. Many other European countries, as well as countries in South-East Asia, are ordering antibody testing kits, hoping that the pandemic will come to an end soon.
In the upcoming days, there will be more testing on a national level, paying closer attention to NHS workers and everyone having contact with them. “We want to get hundreds of thousands of tests ramped up in the next few weeks per day,” Professor Stephen Powis said. The testing kits are being manufactured rapidly and will be brought into the country within the next few days, providing the NHS frontline workers with more data on the virus rates.
The Department of Health and Social Care’s figures are 25,000 per day at the moment, indicating NHS’ and PHE’s target is to reach hundreds of thousands each day in the upcoming weeks.