Around one in ten people in London are now testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies and will likely have some immunity.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show people in the capital have the highest rates of antibodies, followed by the North West and West Midlands where around 7% of people tested positive.
Antibody tests tell a person if they have had the virus and have subsequently developed antibodies in response that might help them to fight reinfection.
The ONS have done an infection survey calculating the estimated number of people testing positive for antibodies between April 26 and August 9.
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There was a large regional variation, with figures showing around 3% of people in the South West are testing positive for antibodies and 4% in Yorkshire.
Yesterday results of the first nationwide antibody surveillance study showed that more than three million people in England have had Covid-19.
The major testing programme, led by Imperial College London, found that just under 6% of England’s population – an estimated 3.4 million people – had antibodies.
The Imperial study saw more than 100,000 people test themselves for Covid-19 antibodies using a home finger-prick test.
The tests use a drop of blood from the finger and give a result in just 15 minutes.
The findings differed slightly from the ONS, showing that 13% of people in London had tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies – more than twice the national average.
The extent to which the presence of antibodies offers protection against future infections, and how long that protection could last, is unknown.
Health minister Edward Argar said: ‘We don’t yet know that antibodies provide immunity to coronavirus, but the more information we can gather on this virus, and the easier we can make it for people to participate in these studies, the better equipped we will be to respond.’
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