May 21, 2020 / 4:33 PM / 6 days ago

Britain signs deals for 10 million antibody tests from Roche and Abbott

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will buy 10 million coronavirus antibody tests from Roche (ROG.S) and Abbott (ABT.N) and will roll them out to health workers from next week, health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday.

The antibody tests - also known as serology tests - show who has been infected, although it is not yet clear whether the presence of antibodies to the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, confers permanent immunity.

“We have signed contracts to supply in the coming months over 10 million tests from Roche and Abbott,” Hancock said.

“From next week, we will begin rolling these out in a phased way; at first, to health and care staff, patients and residents.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison

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