15 April 2020
A delivery of 10,000 antibody testing kits has arrived in the Island. The tests can detect the presence of antibodies produced as part of the body’s response to the COVID -19 virus.
Antibody tests can detect whether a patient has had, COVID-19 and therefore whether they have evidence of immunity to it.
The kits first need to be tested for reliability which will take seven to ten days. Once the kits are confirmed as offering reliable results, they will be used to support an Island-wide testing programme and further kits will be ordered as necessary.
Dr Ivan Muscat, Medical Officer for Health said: “Antibody testing kits are an important weapon in our fight against COVID-19. With such a high global demand for these kits, we are pleased that our first batch has arrived.
“We are living in extraordinary times and there is immense global pressure to get an idea of immunity within populations. While we have sourced the test kits through a robust process, which included evidence of validation through an independent review system, we first need to undertake a rapid local assessment of the accuracy of the test. Following a satisfactory outcome, we can then use these as part of our plan for an Island-wide testing programme. This will help us determine the pattern of infection across the Island.
“The accuracy of future tests will improve, enabling us to measure immunity even more accurately.”