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Coronavirus: Antibody test lacks 'proper assessment'

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COVID-19 antibody tests for NHS and care staff are being rolled out without "adequate assessment", experts warn.

The tests could place an unnecessary burden on the NHS, the 14 senior academics say in a letter in the BMJ,

Last month, the government said it had bought 10 million antibody tests and asked NHS trusts and care homes to make them available to staff in England. Officials say the blood tests - to see if someone has had the virus - will play an "increasingly important role".

The group of scientists say as a positive result is unable to prove immunity, the tests offer "no benefit" to hospitals and care staff. The results do not change what personal protective equipment staff must wear, for example.

The academics also suggest there is little data on how well the test works for people at highest risk - including people belonging to some ethnic minorities and older patients. Instead, they call for other carefully designed strategies to help monitor the spread of the virus.

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Source: BBC News, 25 June 2020

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