When would antibody tests be widespread?

Home test kits could be available in June. But it will probably take some time to gain approval and manufacture them for distribution to the general public.

Some countries like UK are already using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays or Elisas to analyse blood from the general population to see how the epidemic has grown.

Universities have similar Elisas for testing blood and validating new home test kits. 

Research in UK reveals the first finger-prick home test kits could be available in June but have yet to gain regulatory approval. It will probably take some time to manufacture them in the millions for distribution to the general public.

Public Health England has approved an antibody test, made by the pharmaceutical company Roche, which may now be used to determine how much of the population has been infected by Covid-19. It is said to work on blood samples taken by a healthcare professional at least 14 days after the person developed Covid-19.

Roche says its fully automated systems can provide results in approximately 18 minutes for one single test, with a capability to do 300 tests an hour, depending on the analyser.

Antibody tests may not be able to tell you if you are currently infected because it typically takes 1 to 3 weeks to develop antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. To tell if you are currently infected, you would need a test that identifies the virus in samples from your upper respiratory system, such as a nasopharyngeal swab.
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