“We work with the Department of Health on trade, supply agreements, and so on. One of the key elements is to make sure that we are offering good value for money, ”he said.
According to government plans, the tests will be distributed to health professionals before being made available to millions of people at home, who would then send their results to a central database.
“At the moment, this test is a knowledge-gathering tool,” said Dr Hand. “The goal is to allow mass testing, which you can’t really do by sending samples to a laboratory. By being able to test millions of people, it will collect information so that we know how many people have antibodies, whether they protect against re-infection and how long they last. ”
According to plans drawn up by the authorities, the tests would be free and ordered online rather than sold in supermarkets. Each kit will come in a box with a QR barcode linked to a video showing the user how to safely prick their own finger and administer the test.
Ministers also hope the tests will be useful in determining whether future coronavirus vaccinations have triggered the desired response.
“If the coronavirus is like the flu and people need an annual vaccine, we will need mass antibody tests to measure people’s antibody response to this vaccine.” It’s part of the plan, ”said Dr Hand.