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Just 6% of UK population has COVID-19 antibodies - government scientific advisers

A sign is pictured as people queue outside a test centre, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Southend-on-sea, Britain September 17, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientific advisers told the British government earlier this month that just 6% of the United Kingdom’s population had antibodies to COVID-19, according to minutes of the meetings released on Friday.

“Evidence from serology studies suggest a small proportion (around 6%) of the UK population has antibodies to COVID-19,” according to the Sept. 3 minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

“There is evidence of antibody levels waning over 2-3 months (medium confidence),” according to the minutes.

“There is evidence that individuals with certain types and levels of antibody can still have significant viral load and potentially transmit the virus (high confidence).”

SAGE warned that current levels of immunity in the UK population were unlikely to mitigate the impact of “a significant winter resurgence”.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton