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UK Antibody Test May be The ‘Game-Changer’ the Government Needs

The pressure is piling up on the government as care home issue scandal escalates…

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Submitted by InfoBrics, authored by Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland…

The UK government has unveiled an antibody test which may at last give some light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.  The blood test, developed by a Swiss Pharmaceutical company, has now reportedly been approved by scientists at its Porton Down laboratory who say it is 100% accurate at establishing whether an individual has built up immunity to coronavirus or not. In March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had emphasised the extent to which such a test, if rolled out across the country, could impact on the nation’s ability to manage the epidemic. He said: “The great thing about having a test to see whether you’ve had it enough, is suddenly a green light goes on above your head and you can go back to work safe and confident in the knowledge that you are most unlikely to get it again…So for an economic point of view, from a social point of view, it really could be a game-changer.”

This is good news in what has been a rough week for the government. Since having changed its messaging from ‘Stay At Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’ last weekend, it has had to respond to widespread criticism as it was universally acknowledged that the new slogan was far from clear. Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said it raises ‘as many questions as answers’. He said there were real problems with the announcement on Sunday that people could, if they were able to, return to work this week, as at the same time the public was being told it couldn’t use public transport.  At the same time, because of the lack of notice given – only 12 hours – for employees to go back to work, employers were not given enough notice to prepare their work places accordingly.

Perhaps more significantly, the issue has also caused something of a constitutional rift as Scotland and Wales openly rejected Westminster’s messaging, suggesting that the implication that people no longer had to stay home jeopardised their wellbeing. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated that the message in Scotland remains ‘Stay At Home’ and that the new rules regarding social distancing in England – that two people from different households can meet – did not apply north of the border. Given that Boris Johnson in his announcement on Sunday did not specify that the guidance was for England only, and that many Scots rely on London-based media for their information, there has been much confusion as to what guidance applies to them and what doesn’t.

The mixed messaging is something of a reflection of what is happening beneath the facade of government. ‘It’s a mess’ one minister told the BBC this week, as one official told reporter Laura Kuenssberg that ‘more than half the Cabinet have no clue what’s going on’. Some ministers apparently feel excluded from the decision making which makes it difficult when they are forced to defend ‘decisions they are not playing a full part in making’ in media interviews. This could explain why, as host of the prime time TV Show Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan, unveiled recently, government ministers have been banned from appearing on his show. The presenter has been dubbed the real UK opposition leader of late, as he has not hesitated to hold back in his interrogation of the government as to its handling of the pandemic. In one interaction, he scolded the Care Minister for sniggering in response to his questions, as he asked ‘‘I don’t know why you’re laughing, why are you laughing? It’s actually very serious. It says 4000 people may have died in care homes in this country.”

The scandal over coronavirus in care homes is one which is escalating as time goes on. New figures today reveal that an additional 23,000 care home deaths took place in the five months of the Covid-19 pandemic – a 170 percent rise from the same time last year. It’s been suggested that the elderly have been little more than ‘sitting ducks’ during the crisis, and that not enough has been done to protect the vulnerable in society. Only recently had the testing of patients entering care homes from hospital begun, up until that point elderly patients could easily contract the virus in hospital before transferring it to other care home residents upon return to the home. In this way, the virus spread like wildfire across care homes in Britain.

Sir Keir Starmer on Thursday criticised the government for its ‘slow response’ to the epidemic in care homes which led to a war of words between himself and the Prime Minister. Starmer, during Prime Minister’s questions, quoted from government advice up to 12th March which said that ‘it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected’. Boris Johnson said in parliament that this was not true, which led to Starmer compiling a letter to Johnson confirming the document he had quoted from.

The care home issue won’t go away any time soon, with the figure of extra deaths which could have been prevented earlier, had testing taken place, likely to haunt Johnson for years to come. The news that an antibody test is on the horizon is a glimmer of hope at this time, but there’s much work to be done yet before it can be rolled out on a mass scale. The government’s not out of the woods yet.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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May 16, 2020

An accurate test would be good. A rushed and unpredictable vaccine not so good.

May 17, 2020

The whole question is what have they developed an antibody against. What is defined as the antigen is based on an impure lung sample of lung fluid that was never purified from 7 of the 9 individuals from whom they to lung fluid in Wuhan. They then used PCR probes to look for specific sequences that they have already identified as related to viruses to reconstruct bits of DNA and combine them into a model that they say represents the genome of SARS-COV2. As it is all based on genetic sequencing that is combining RNA sequences from different individuals and… Read more »

May 19, 2020

THE VACCINE QUESTION – the vaccine lobby say that vaccines create anti-bodies which create immunity to the disease vaccinated against ………BUT – “Will Antibodies After COVID-19 Illness Prevent Reinfection?” Most people infected with the novel coronavirus develop antibodies in response. But scientists don’t know whether people who have been exposed to the coronavirus will be immune for life, as is usually the case for the measles, or if the disease will return again and again, like the common cold. “This to me is one of the big unanswered questions that we have,” says Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health… Read more »

Reply to  Amarka
May 19, 2020

“C” viruses have a large amount of similarity. We’ve all been infected with a “C” – coronavirus (common cold) so there must be a cross reaction in tests for anti-bodies to the “C” virus, the so called COVID-19. 98% of people with a “C” virus do not require medical treatment If anti-bodies make you immune then you are already immune. Vaccines are given so as to create anti-bodies. So why do you need a vaccine when you already have anti-bodies? As the “C” virus is a recurring disease it goes to show that anti-bodies do not guarantee against re-infection. As… Read more »

May 19, 2020

From Medscape Quentin kinderman| Other Healthcare Provider 1 day ago In the Fall of 2017, I had a flu vaccination. Within a day I was sick. I went to the ER, and was sent home. A few days later I was admitted for a week. I had fever, severe muscle pain, cough, dehydration. My labs were way out of line, high WBC and platelets, anemia level HGB, high ferritin levels. No one wanted to hear about a flu shot. My blood was tested for just about every known disease, all negative. I was discharged still sick. I even got a… Read more »

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