LETTER: Antibody tests need to be a priority in the Covid-19 battle

A reader urges for more coronavirus antibody testing.

A person is swabbed at a drive-through coronavirus testing site
A person is swabbed at a drive-through coronavirus testing site

Why no mass Covid-19 antibody testing yet?

The Government seem obsessed with tracking and tracing and isolating people that may or may not have Covid-19, but what’s the point of self isolating for 14 days, if you had Covid-19 months ago?

Obviously I am no medical expert, but in general vaccines prevent, not cure disease. Apparently a vaccine works on fighting off a disease that your body has not come into contact with before, so what would be the point of vaccinating someone against a virus that they have already had and built up their own antibodies and memory cells to protect them?

Look at the panic that the 14-day house arrest quarantine threat deadline from France has caused. Thousands of people rushing to get back to Britain before the 4am deadline. People are avoiding going to places where they have to give their contact details and if the 14-day isolation ping app ever comes out people will leave their phones at home or bury them in the garden to avoid being pinged, and losing 14 days of their lives.

The answer lies in who and how many of us have already had Covid-19, not using people's phones to ping them into isolation for random contacts that may already had the virus months ago with little effect. In the old days you had to answer your phone to find out who was calling you. Modern phones show the caller on screen, so if you don’t recognise the caller, you don’t answer it.

There is a 99% accurate quick drop of your blood on a stick antibody test available, made by a British company in York. It can tell you in 20 minutes if you have had Covid-19 or not. The virus has been around eight to 10 months now, so I think when they actually start mass antibody testing an extremely large amount of us will have already had Covid, so no need for maybe millions of vaccines or 14-day quarantines.

Antibody testing should be the priority now but where’s the antibody test stations? Surely, even for peace of mind, we all need antibody testing now?

Gordon Fanthom, Swindon

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