Buckingham University Professor urges UK government to consider South Korean antibody tests

Professor Karol Sikora who works at the University of Buckingham has called for the Government to use the antigen kits popular in South Korea and Germany.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

He says this will allow the government to start working towards a lockdown exit strategy.

The tests have proved popular and extremely effective in countries such as Germany and South Korea.

Professor Karol Sikora, professor of medicine at Buckingham UniversityProfessor Karol Sikora, professor of medicine at Buckingham University
Professor Karol Sikora, professor of medicine at Buckingham University

The Sugentech kits cost less than £10 each.

Mr Sikora also runs a private cancer clinic, where he has been keeping tabs on staff by using the antigen kits.

He told Sky News yesterday: "We're testing the blood of all the staff here for antibodies against coronavirus.

"There are two types: IGM, which peaks at about 10 days after infection, and IGG, which takes four or five weeks before it peaks.

"That's the problem with these kits and indeed with all antibody testing, it's the timing and the relationship to the infection.

"We know that there are much better assets in the lab that are expensive that need to be sent off and they're better controlled, so we're doing both: the kits which are cheap, less than £7 a kit to do the test, and the more expensive lab tests to validate what we've got from the kits."

The Antigen tests would allow the government to create a map of the spread of Covid-19 and allow parts of the economy to reopen, says Mr Sikora.

However, he went on to warn that the lockdown must not be lifted too early

"If the lockdown is released without having immunity in the community, the magic number - the R0 - or infectivity of the virus will be too high," he added.

"Once we have a base line of immune patients out there it means the virus has nowhere to hide and it dies out, and the pandemic dies. So it's good news we have something to measure at last."