For weeks, the UK government suggested antibody tests may lead the country out of lockdown. Instead, the testing regime has been beset by problems and unclear priorities.
After falling ill in early March with mild cold-like symptoms, Stephen Graves couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that he may have contracted Covid-19. Like all UK residents who displayed coronavirus symptoms in early March, Graves wasn’t eligible for testing, which at the time was mainly limited to those in hospitals.
On May 25 he ordered an antibody test from a private London clinic that would analyse a blood sample – taken from the tip of his finger – and tell him whether he had been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19, Sars-Cov-2. Four days earlier, the health secretary Matt Hancock had said at the daily Downing Street press conference that the government was considering “systems of certification” that might give people with antibodies more freedom to return to work.
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