What’s the latest on coronavirus antibody tests?


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • A new antibody test has been approved by the UK after an independent evaluation showed it had a high degree of accuracy and specificity.
  • The test, developed by Roche, is one of a number approved for use internationally.
  • Such tests are a key feature in many governments’ plans to relax lockdown.
  • But uncertainty remains over how much protection from the virus is provided by past infection.

A new test to determine if someone has been infected with coronavirus has been released onto the market.

According to its developer, Swiss pharma giant Roche, the antibody test “has a specificity greater than 99.8% and sensitivity of 100%”, pinpointing antibodies to COVID-19 present in blood samples.

Antibody tests – which check the blood for the proteins produced by our bodies’ immune systems to fight infections – have been identified by a number of countries as key to tackling the spread of the virus and loosening lockdowns, as they can show who has been exposed to the disease even if they had been asymptomatic.


After independent testing by Public Health England found the Roche test to be highly specific and accurate it became the first coronavirus antibody test approved in the UK. A second test, from Abbott Laboratories, has since also been approved in the UK. Both also have approval for use from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Number of registered COVID-19 clinical trials worldwide May 4, 2020, by region Published by Matej Mikulic, May 4, 2020  According to ClinicalTrials.gov, there are 1,616 studies currently registered which investigate the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This statistic shows the total number of results from a search of
There are over 1,600 ongoing registered studies into the current coronavirus.
Image: Statista

How does it work?

Unlike swab tests, which indicate whether a person has coronavirus at the point they were tested, blood-based antibody tests can show whether or not someone has been infected in the past.

The Roche test and others like it rely on a machine to identify the presence of antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19 – SARS-CoV-2 – in blood samples. It identifies antibodies from at least 14 days after infection. And the test is specific for this strain of coronavirus – so it won’t be confused by antibodies to other coronaviruses, such as the common cold.

It is a different type of test to the home finger prick blood tests which have also become available. There is still hope that such finger prick tests could help provide rapid results, but there have been some concerns over their accuracy.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

What does a positive result mean?

Widespread use of such tests will tell governments what proportion of the population has had COVID-19, and better understand how it has spread.

But the World Health Organization has warned against using the results of diagnostic tests for “immunity passports” that would enable individuals to travel or return to work. The body is concerned about the accuracy of some tests available and points out there is still a lot of uncertainty around the degree of protection past infection gives.

People who assume they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may end up ignoring public health advice, it says.

There is also concern that such passports could lead to discrimination, creating a divide in society with, for example, employers favouring those who could prove previous infection.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

MEPs approve new CO2 emissions limits for trucks

COVID-19: first go-ahead given to the new Recovery and Resilience Facility

MEPs question whether the new Migration Pact will bring about real change

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

With 5 billion set to miss out on health care, UN holds landmark summit to boost coverage

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

AI can help with the COVID-19 crisis – but the right human input is key

Libya: Heavy shelling and civilian deaths ‘blatant violation’ of international law – UN envoy

Global Leaders Take The Stage At MWC Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

Our idea of what makes a company successful needs to change. And it starts with making waste expensive

How to change the world at Davos

Peru is building a new international airport near Machu Picchu – and archaeologists are worried

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

‘Essential step’ towards universal health care made at pivotal UN conference

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

Violence against women a ‘mark of shame’ on our societies, says UN chief on World Day

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

Closing the global gender gap – whose job is it anyway?

6 stages for fostering and harnessing imagination in companies

Infinite Oath

State aid: Commission approves €73 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

New legislation on transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment model in the food chain

French full-body veil ban, violated women’s freedom of religion: UN Human Rights Committee

Journey of my life

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

90% of fish stocks are used up – fisheries subsidies must stop

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators agree to set up new European rules to improve fairness of online platforms’ trading practices

Global aid needed for healthcare

EU budget: the Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

EU industry: Commission takes action to improve synergies between civil, defence and space industries

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

The EU provides €36.4 million to tackle COVID-19 and support police reform in the Republic of Moldova

What washing your hands can teach you about global change

Why lockdowns can halt the spread of COVID-19

The end of Spitzenkandidat: EU leaders concluded unexpectedly on EU top jobs

‘Education transforms lives’ says UN chief on first-ever International Day

More ambition needed for EU recovery instruments, says majority of MEPs

‘All efforts must be made’ to ensure peaceful elections for Guinea-Bissau, Security Council hears

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

State aid: Commission invites comments on State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks

‘Open, cordial, and frank discussions’ held over future Somalia-UN relationship

How scientists are turning living cells into the tiny factories of the future

Protecting workers from biological agents: how to classify SARS-CoV-2

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

Intel, Almunia and 1 billion euros for unfair potatoes

Close to 7,000 evacuated from Syrian towns after enduring nearly 3-year siege

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

Media freedom: EP warns of attempts to silence critics and undermine pluralism

“America first” policy goes against EU-US partnership, say MEPs

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

Coronavirus: a common approach for safe and efficient mobile tracing apps across the EU

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

From Model T to EV: a short history of motor vehicle manufacturing

More Stings?


  1. […] Sipas zbuluesit, gjigandit zviceran Roche, testi  “ka një specifitet më të madh se 99.8% dhe ndjeshmëri 100%”, që tregon se antitrupat ndaj COVID-19 janë të pranishëm në mostrat e gjakut, shkruan The Europe Sting. […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: