Boris Johnson has just announced at a press conference a new hope for testing the deadly coronavirus and believes a new testing could be a “total game changer”. The Prime Minister said: “Testing is crucial to our success and we are making fantastic progress in this. The scientific progress that we are making will already start to come into play. We are rapidly becoming so much better at understanding genomics at the heart of this virus and all of that is going on in this country.
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“We are getting better at the medicines that may treat and cure it and today we have put the first British coronavirus patient into a randomised trial for drugs that may treat the disease.
UK experts and scientists expect to start trials for the first vaccine in the next month.
“And above all we are getting better at testing. This crisis is so difficult as the enemy is invisible and the answer is to remove the cloak of invisibility and to identify the virus and to be able to know which of us is carrying it or who has had it and gotten over it.
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“And to give you an idea of what is coming down the track we are in negotiations today to buy a so called antibody test similar to a pregnancy test that will tell whether you’ve had the disease and its early days but if it does work we will buy literally hundreds and thousands of these kits as soon as we can because obviously it has the potential to be a total game changer because once you know you have had it, you know that you’re likely to be less vulnerable, you’re less likely to pass it on and you can go back to work. “
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What is new antibody testing
A new test which is able to detect tell-tale antibodies to the coronavirus in people’s blood has offered new hope in terms of testing.
The test, which is similar to the most widely used type of testing done for HIV, was discovered by a team at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.
The test shows whether a person’s immune system has ever come in contact with the virus.
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Sir Patrick Vallance added: “The new antibody testing will be ramped up.
“We want to get to numbers of well over 25,000 to be able to test the antibody and practicality of this type of testing.
“It is a pretty simple type of test and if they do work and are reliable then will definitely be able to scale up the testing needed. Our first priority is getting the testing and then secondly providing for NHS staff.
“Vaccine trials will be happening in April already and that is the timescale that we really need to push ourselves to get there.”
Boris added: “We can turn the tide in the next few weeks and we encourage the scientific community to continue with their fantastic new testing options.
“We will get through this but its vital that we all take a very energetic and conservative effort to follow all the medical advice given and then what will happen is that we will begin to see a development of the curve of this virus begin to come down and with this new test it could make a profound difference. We can turn the tide in the next 12 weeks.”
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