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‘Game-changing’ blood test can identify 98 percent of COVID-19 cases in new breakthrough

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The test can establish 98 per cent of cases – even those without symptoms.

Identifying cases early could provide a huge boost for the struggling economy allowing the Government to push forward with plans to ease the lockdown.

Reports suggest that scientists worry about existing methods that detect if a person has the virus.

They believe those tests can only spot the diseases in the very sick.

Previous studies project that eight in ten cases are so mild that those who test positive will be unable to determine if they are ill.

Birmingham University’s new blood test aims to platform those ‘hidden victims.

The tests operate by searching for antibodies produced by the immune system when COVID-19 sinks into cells.

It is expected that this new approach will identify much more cases.

The researchers believe that mild victims respond to the ‘spikes’, whereas severe cases seem to react to the virus’s main body.

Alex Richter, of the Institute of Immunology at Birmingham, revealed the results were based on studies involving 1,000 NHS workers.

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The university has received more than 45 million pounds from the UK Government and philanthropic donors towards the campaign.

Researchers believe that the first human tests could transform vaccine development, as they are designed differently to the regular approach.

In other vaccines, scientists use parts of the virus to combat the disease, whereas Imperial’s department of infectious disease use synthetic strands of the virus’s genetic material – RNA- which are housed inside small fat droplets.

Mr Shattock, a professor at Imperial’s department of infectious disease said: “In the long-term, a viable vaccine could be vital for protecting the most vulnerable, enabling restrictions to be eased and helping people to get back to normal life.



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