Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
21 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Around 17 per cent of Londoners and 5 per cent of rest of UK have coronavirus antibodies, Hancock says

By Samuel Horti

A government study estimates about 17 per cent of Londoners have antibodies to coronavirus, while the figure is around five per cent in the rest of the country, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

He announced that the government will begin offering NHS antibody tests next week and will make 10 million available in the next few months. Ministers have signed deals for the tests with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche and US company Abbott, and scientists are assessing tests from three other companies.

The government will prioritise NHS and care workers for the first wave of testing.

Scientists still do not know whether antibodies provide immunity against a second infection, he said.

Lastly, he revealed the government has begun trialling a rapid coronavirus swab test that can deliver results in 20 minutes. The test, from UK firm OptiGene, will tell people if they are currently infected, and does not require any lab work.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy