Coronavirus antibody study finds 3.4 million infections in England

Modesto Morganelli
Agosto 15, 2020

A study by Imperial College London published today estimated that around 3.4 million people in England, around 6% of the population, have had coronavirus.

There was no breakthrough on the quest for a home antibody test for general use among the public.

In London, 13% of people had antibodies while in the South West of England it was less than 3%.

Also, younger people aged 18 to 24 had the highest antibody rates at 7.9%, and those aged 65 to 74 had the lowest, at 3.2%.

Prevalence of infections appeared to be highest in London, where 13 percent of people had antibodies, while minority ethnic groups were two to three times as likely to have had the virus compared to white people.

People who smoked were less likely to have antibodies than non-smokers (3% compared to 5%).

The study's authors also cautioned there was still no firm evidence the presence of antibodies meant people could no be re-infected with the virus.

But the findings are significant because they are likely to influence the decisions officials will make about what kind of lockdown restrictions are needed in the future, and which groups are at greatest risk.

A total of 313,798 people have tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, in Britain, 270,971 of which were in England.

The 3.4 million figure in the study is many times higher than the tally of known cases for the entire United Kingdom as posted by Johns Hopkins University in the USA - whose aggregated numbers have become the main global reference for monitoring the disease.

'The British public have already played a massive part in helping to keep the country safe and I'd urge them to consider signing up to one of the many vital surveillance studies taking place over the coming months as part of our national testing effort'.

The program stated that six percent of the population of England had been infected with COVID-19 by July 13. "We need to do far more to protect people from any future waves of infection". "This study gives a very detailed picture of the pandemic as it unfolded in England in the period prior to and during lockdown".

While whether developing antibodies provides immunity to COVID-19 is yet to be established, large-scale testing may be a way to determine it, Health Minister Edward Argar said.

More than 100,000 people pricked their fingers at home between June 20 and July 13 to test for antibodies, according to a government announcement.

As it is now unknown whether having antibodies to the virus stops people from getting COVID-19 again, participants are asked to continue to follow Government guidelines, regardless of their result.

The government said it's unknown whether antibodies offer immunity to the virus, and held that the study marks the world's largest surveillance study for COVID-19 antibodies to date.

The study will be repeated in autumn, testing 200,000 people, and research on the accuracy of different LFTs is ongoing to ensure that the best available test is used in the REACT programme as it continues.

While research showed several finger prick tests were accurate enough for large-scale surveillance studies to monitor the spread of Covid-19, no antibody fingerpick test has yet met MHRA criteria for individual use, which means none are now approved for use outside of surveillance studies.

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