A study found that at least 5% of people in the UK have developed anti-COVID-19 antibodies, the number reaching 17% in London.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave the results to the government daily coronavirus update because it announced plans for antibody certificates.
The figures are the first to be released by a government-commissioned study by the Office for National Statistics, using 1,000 adults to track immunity levels in the UK.
Participants had to give blood samples which are tested to check how many have developed COVID-19[female[feminine antibodies.
Experts still don’t know what level of immunity people recover from the disease and how long it could last.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already greeted a antibody test found by scientists at Porton Down to be 100% accurate as a “game changer” to lift the lock.
This, he said, is due to the fact that a person with antibodies can be “safe and confident knowing that you are unlikely to recover.”
The test, carried out by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, was approved for use by Public Health England.
Mr. Hancock has confirmed that he will be rolled out for free on the NHS starting next week – address health and social service workers first.
However, experts still don’t know what level of immunity recovery from the disease gives people – and how long the immunity could last.
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John Edmunds, professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned that studies on other coronaviruses suggest “potentially bad news” for the hope that humans could develop long-term immunity .
On Tuesday, he told a parliamentary committee: “We can also see from other coronaviruses, from those that cause coughs and colds, that individuals do not again appear to have any particular long-term immunity against many of these viruses, allowing them to be reinfected later. .
“Immunity may not last as long against this virus. “
There have been over 252,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK and at least 36,124 deaths.
Analysis: UK still far from collective immunity
Londoners are much more likely to have contracted the infection because the capital was two weeks ahead of the rest of the country on the epidemic curve when we entered detention, writes our science correspondent Thomas Moore.
And since then, the spread of the virus has slowed considerably.
These are results based on small samples of people across the country, so there will be a margin of error.
That’s why scientists are thrilled with the 10 million antibody tests the government will launch next week.
They will provide more reliable data with geographical and professional breakdowns.
But the numbers give us a useful guide to what has happened in the past few weeks.
And they show how much we lack collective immunity.
About 60% of the population should have had the virus and be immune to reinfection to stop the virus from spreading.
This means that a vaccine is our only realistic hope of returning to a normal life.