Coronavirus may have infected 19 million Britons, as hope of antibody test could signal end of lockout


Scientists say more than 19 million Britons may have already been infected with a coronavirus and have improved.

Experts from the University of Manchester released the figures as health officials approved a “100% accurate” antibody test that would show who has ever had the virus.

Professor John Newton, test coordinator, said, “This is a very positive development.”

The tests will be rolled out in the coming weeks and could pave the way for the lockdown.

Last night there was growing hope that a new coronavirus antibody test could pave the way for the end of the lockdown and the return to work for millions of Britons.

Health leaders have approved a test developed by Swiss drug giant Roche that is 100% accurate at detecting those who have had the disease, which may have given them immunity.

Deputy medical director Jonathan Van-Tam said first-line NHS and caregivers will first have access to checks, which will be put in place “in the days and weeks to come.”

And the potential “game changer” came when scientists at the University of Manchester claimed that more than 19 million people may have already been infected and recovered.

University of Washington health experts also predict that the UK is about to experience its first day without Covid-19 death on July 30 and that the toll will drop below 100 by June 14 .

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Employees of Hull City Council disinfect trails and public structures to protect against transmission of COVID-19

But it has been revealed that of the 233,151 people who have tested positive in the UK since the start of the epidemic, around 148,000 have been infected with the virus in the past two weeks – during isolation.

While the recorded death rate increased yesterday from 428 to 33,614, the British coronavirus screening program
Professor John Newton, coordinator, said: “This is a very positive development because such a specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection.

“This in turn may indicate some immunity against future infection, although the extent to which the presence of antibodies indicates immunity remains unclear. “

Boris Johnson previously called the antibody tests “revolutionary.”

And welcoming the breakthrough, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said yesterday: “We still have to work to understand its full potential, but it is clearly an important step forward and it continues to have the potential to change.” the deal, as the Prime Minister explained. . ”

Staff at the Coastal Fish and Chips Shop and the Glacier on Blyth Beach, Northumberland, wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they turn off signs of social distancing

Oxford University professor of medicine Sir John Bell added: “This is a step in the right direction. In the evolution of these antibody tests, getting one that works really well is a big step forward. “

He also said the antibodies “would likely stay for a year or two” and added that Roche’s test was the “best approved test available on the market today”.

A quarter of Covid-19 patients who died in English hospitals since March 31 – when pre-existing conditions began to be reported – had diabetes, according to NHS England.

Of the 22,332 patients who died, 26% were diabetic, 18% suffered from dementia and 15% suffered from chronic lung disease.

The Office for National Statistics said that 148,000 people in England had a coronavirus between April 27 and May 10 – the equivalent of 0.27% of the population.

A busy central line on the London Underground this week

The estimate is based on swab tests performed on 10,705 people in 5,276 households, but does not include people in hospitals or nursing homes where the NSO has stated that infection rates are likely to ‘be higher.

The effect of the coronavirus on all health services was exposed, as figures showed 900,000 A&E consultations in April, down 57% from 2.1 million a year earlier.

NHS England, which released the figures, said the fall was “probably the result of the Covid-19 response.”

Experts fear that some patients in need of treatment may stay away for fear of putting additional pressure on health services or catching a coronavirus in hospital.

Emergency admissions fell sharply last month, down 39% from 535,226 in April 2019 to 326,581.

Former President of the Society for Acute Medicine, Dr. Nick Scriven, described the decline as “an important concern”.

Londoners return to work today at London Bridge

He added: “It is a time bomb in itself and will be exacerbated by a myriad of other pressures in the weeks to come. “

Referrals for cancer dropped 8%, general practitioners in England doing 181,873 in March 2020, compared with 198,418 in 2019. Urgent referrals for breast cancer dropped more significantly from 17,137 in March 2019 to 12,4411 this year, a decrease of 28%.

Admissions for all routine hospital surgeries in March totaled 207,754, compared to 305,356 in 2019.

Yesterday, as workers across the country began returning to factories, construction sites and call centers, unions warned that many tests and PPE should be put in place before the full opening of the shop. NHS.

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Coronavirus epidemic

Sara Gorton of Unison warned, “As hospitals are getting busier and clinics reopen, the safety of staff and patients is paramount. But that cannot happen without a lot of PPE supplies.

“Tackling Covid has been a huge challenge, but this next phase will also be a crucial test. “

But NHS chief supplier Chris Hopson said trusts still face “significant problems” during testing.

He added, “Trusts tell us that we cannot guarantee sufficient, reliable and consistent access to the tests they need in a timely manner.”


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