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UK Orders 1 Million Abingdon Health Antibody Tests for Surveillance Studies

NEW YORK — The UK government has ordered a million antibody tests from Abingdon Health for use in surveillance studies of SARS-CoV-2, Abingdon Health and the UK Department of Health and Social Care said on Tuesday.

The government plans to use the test, which received a CE-IVD mark in July, to better understand the spread of the virus, which causes COVID-19, in the UK population. The test could also be used to assess vaccine effectiveness, should a vaccine become available.

York, UK-based Abingdon Health developed the lateral flow assay, called the AbC-19 Rapid Antibody Test, as part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium, a government-supported endeavour that also involved the University of Oxford, Omega Diagnostics, BBI Solutions and CIGA Healthcare.

The test relies on a blood sample obtained by finger-prick and can deliver results in 20 minutes. Healthcare professionals can run the test at the point of care, without needing a laboratory.

Abingdon Health CEO Chris Yates said that studies performed using the company's test could provide a "crucial part of understanding of immunity to COVID-19," and called the government's initial order of a million tests a "endorsement" of the AbC-19 Rapid Antibody Test and a "triumph of British business."

Yates said the first has ramped production of the test since August and will soon deliver the first test kits to the government. The government also commissioned an evaluation of the test, and Public Health England, which led the assessment, will publish the results shortly, the firm said.

Another validation study performed by Ulster University involving over 1,000 participant blood samples is currently under peer review for publication, Abingdon Health added.