‘Not the time to roll out antibody tests’, says Scotland's chief medical officer

Now is not the time to roll out antibody tests, according to Scotland's interim chief medical officer.

Dr Gregor Smith has written to all NHS boards urging them not to offer on-demand antibody testing.

At present, 4,431 antibody tests for surveillance purposes have been completed in Scotland.

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Dr Smith said: “Having assessed the research available, there is currently insufficient clinical evidence to absolutely conclude that people who have recovered from Covid-19 are protected from either a second infection or from infecting others.

Dr Gregor Smith.Dr Gregor Smith.
Dr Gregor Smith.

“Until such evidence exists the main public health benefits are for research purposes or in the clinical management of patients. The World Health Organisation and SAGE have warned there are potentially negative impacts on public health if individuals assume immunity from a positive result and adapt their behaviour in a way which could increase the risk of continued transmission.

“If clinical evidence around immunity changes we will swiftly roll out a national antibody testing programme in order to realise the potential health, social and economic benefits this would offer, and are preparing now for that prospect.”

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