Published On: Wed, Jun 17th, 2020

Coronavirus ‘game-changing’ blood test detects 98% of cases even in those without symptoms | World | News


Scientists are worried the tests which already exist are only able to detect the virus in people who have been very ill. A test which is able to diagnose the virus is vital to stop it spreading and allowing global lockdowns to be eased. COVID-19 has caused more than 42,000 deaths across the world, with some countries using track and trace to try and curb the number of infections.

Governments are able to enforce localised lockdowns if they know there has been an outbreak in a certain place.

The test works by checking for antibodies, which are produced by the body when COVID-19 has infected the cells.

Alex Richter, from the Institute of Immunology at Birmingham University, said to the Mail Online: “We have found that detecting antibodies in people that have been very sick in hospital is quite straightforward, however, it seems that if you have a milder or asymptomatic illness your response may be weaker in existing protein tests.

“In our test, we are using the correctly folded form of the spike protein, which is the protein the virus uses to binds to cells in the first place.

“We are getting 98 percent sensitivity and that is a game changer for testing in the community and for other countries.”

Research has shows that around eight in ten people have such mild symptoms of COVID-19 that they are completely unaware they even have it.

The virus is very infectious and symptoms can take days to appear.

SEE MORE: Will Government STOP vulnerable shielding? End of July hint

Up to 29 percent of tests performed on carriers came back with a negative result.

The Government found a steroid drug reduced COVID-19 deaths yesterday.

The drug Dexamethasone was found to reduced mortality rates by a third for people on ventilators.

At the end of May, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock announced the test and trace NHS scheme.

He said the use of the programme could see the end of the lockdown.

He said: “Test and trace will only work if people listen and act.

“It is our civic to work together for the greater good to stop the spread of the virus.

“As we move to the next stage of our fight against coronavirus, we will be able to replace national lockdowns with individual isolation.

“And, if necessary, local action where there are outbreaks.”



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