Public Health England (PHE) has validated two laboratory-based antibody tests from Swiss-based Roche and US-based Abbott last week, and another - from the Welsh firm Ortho Clinical Diagnostics - this week.
Down the line, if the team can establish that there is immunity, then the test may have value in saying certain people have had the disease, and they're not at risk of further disease.
A blood sampling kit is sent in the post.
A high street name is selling a coronavirus antibody test to show if you have had Covid-19, and it will reveal results in two days.
"There has been a proliferation of low-quality antibody tests and the antibody tests themselves don't necessarily answer any questions about immunity", said Rajaie Batniji, Collective Health's chief health officer. The test will involve a finger prick with a lancet with just a few drops of blood needed.
The statement provides easily understandable definitions for terms that define a test's characteristics, such as sensitivity, specificity, and cross-reactivity.
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Typically, when an infectious agency enters the body, the immune system produces antibodies, a protein created to attach or "bind" with specific proteins on the virus.
Michael Henry, Superdrug's Healthcare Director comments "We're launching a Covid-19 antibody test because we're confident of its accuracy and reliability". One week after the first symptoms, either IgG or IgM could be detected in 60% of patients, with nearly 100% of patients displaying either antibody by the end of 3 weeks.
One of the biggest US testing providers, LabCorp, on Thursday said it was rolling out a program to make diagnostic tests and antibody tests available at workplaces. "That helps with the supply chain". The machines can run 150 tests an hour. "The sense we get is that initially it will be used in returning staff and to serve the needs of the vaccine", he said. The antibody level within the patients also appeared to increase over time.
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The test, developed by Roche, is one of a number approved for use internationally. This is partly due to the fact that, in response to concerns that FDA regulation was hindering COVID-19 testing, the agency temporarily allowed diagnostic manufacturers to sell antibody tests without undergoing FDA review. Many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and may not know they had the disease. "They will be rolled out through health and social care settings".
'I think combined with chatting to someone regularly over a longer period, which gives you an idea of their habits, and FaceTiming, it can put you more at ease, ' she said. The tests are different from the nasal swab tests that determine if you're now sick.
But he added: "I would caution against using any tests that might be made available without knowing quite how good those tests are".
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"I've never been in that camp that thought there was a lot more virus out there that we just weren't finding and the antibody results being this low tells us that that's probably true", she said. "Scientists would know that over time by following those people who had an antibodies to see whether they get reinfected".