Responding to news that an antibody test to find out whether people have been infected with coronavirus in the past has been approved, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Just fantastic news. The early antibody tests were unreliable and that was a major disappointment because a bad test is worse than no test.
“This time it looks as if they have cracked it. Of course, there are still unanswered questions - if you have antibodies, does that mean you are immune and if so for how long does it make you immune? But the signs are optimistic that this will make a real difference.
“It should enable the NHS and care providers to work out which staff have antibodies and then be able to deploy them more effectively. And we are clear on this point - NHS and care staff must be given priority access to new test.
“The antibody test will also help us to understand how and where the virus has spread which will be vital in supporting the test, track and trace programme.”