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  1. ITV Report

Coronavirus antibody tests set to be rolled out across Wales

File photo of test tubes with blood samples for COVID-19 antibody testing at a hospital Credit: PA

A new antibody test is set to be introduced throughout Wales and the rest of the UK to tell whether a person has previously had coronavirus.

It's expected the test - which will involve sampling a drop of blood to see if someone has been exposed to the virus and therefore developed antibodies - will be made available to critical workers first.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has welcomed the availability of the new test, saying he will announce shortly when they will be made available to both critical workers and the general public.

He said Wales will decide how the test is rolled out, prioritised and managed and that it it likely to also be made available in care homes.

But he stressed that although the test can reveal whether someone has had the virus, it doesn't necessarily show that they are now immune.

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A proportion of the tests are being produced by a company in Pencoed - Ortho Clinical Diagnostics - who responded to a call to action from the First Minister and Life Sciences Hub Wales.

The Health Minister said: “The approval and production of the new antibody test is an important step forward in our efforts to stop the spread of the virus, protect the public and ease lockdown restrictions.

“This test will tell us if people have already had coronavirus. But it is important to say although the test can tell if someone has had the virus, it’s not certain as to how much immunity they’ll have to the virus."

In addition to the antibody test, which will be available from Ortho and other suppliers in the UK, work is ongoing in Wales to develop another type of antibody test, which involves taking a pinprick of blood, which can be tested with a device to give a result in minutes. This test would be more accessible and help to make antibody testing more widely available.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know