Coronavirus: UK developing new blood test which could reveal undetected spread A new coronavirus test being developed in the UK could provide crucial insights into how the disease spreads, according to infectious disease experts.
The swab test currently being used around the world to detect COVID-19 determines whether a person carries the virus. But now a number of countries are in the process of verifying a blood test Thank which can detect if someone has been cleared of coronavirus. That test detects antibodies that are produced a week or two after someone has become infected with the virus and are part of the immune system’s response to the illness.
The blood test will not replace the swab test being used to detect the active virus The antibody test has been rolled out for use in China and Singapore, where it has reportedly helped medical researchers track links between coronavirus cases.
Infectious disease expert Dr Katrina Pollock told Sky News the test could provide crucial insights by identifying people who may not have known they had ever caught the disease. “These are not new techniques – they are widely used for other diseases – but they are being applied to the new infection, and that is needed,” she said. And that will tell us a lot about how the virus is spreading.” Because antibodies help protect the body from a virus, Dr Pollack said it could also reveal which type of people may be resistant to falling ill to the virus and which are more resistant.
This could be particularly useful for determining why so few children are becoming sick compared to adults, Dr Pollack said. “We do need to understand what is happening with children,” she said. “It may be that the number of cases in children is getting underestimated if they’re not getting symptoms.”