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Covid-19 antibody tests should be used to determine who needs booster jabs, says London Medical Laboratory

Covid-19 antibody tests should be used to determine who needs booster jabs, says London Medical Laboratory


30 million people might receive booster Covid jabs from next month, but do they really need them? London Medical Laboratory says simple tests can determine whether antibody levels have decreased significantly and identify those who most need ‘top-up’ jabs.


The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has reportedly prepared plans for 30 million people, mainly the over-50s and clinically vulnerable, to receive a third Covid-19 jab together with their flu vaccine, starting from 6 September. However, there is a question mark over whether the booster jab plan is viable, or even necessary.

Now the coronavirus antibody testing expert London Medical Laboratory (LML) is calling for the plans to be postponed until data indicates how long double vaccination provides an effective level of antibodies.

Dr. Quinton Fivelman, PhD, the Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, has just authored the White Paper ‘Has your vaccine worked? Are you immune to Covid-19?’. He says: ‘The latest antibody tests measure the level of antibodies people develop following their vaccination. This shows how effective the jab has been and, vitally, how long our antibodies remain at an effective level. This is the data that should be driving the UK’s booster jab plans.’

Professor Fivelman says: ‘Preliminary research by London Medical Laboratory indicates that antibody levels across the UK population range from 0 to 30,000 AU/ml (with a small percentage responding very positively and registering up to the maximum 80,000 AU/ml). These results cover the spectrum from those who are unvaccinated through to those who have responded very well to the vaccine.

‘However, many people have lower values (50 to 500AU/ml) and the clinical significance of this is still being researched. The “cut-off value” is still not known and how long protection will last is still being understood. If someone takes a test and their score is low, it may mean they may not have had a response, or their antibody levels have significantly declined over time.’

Dr Fivelman’s comments follow mounting concern over the effectiveness of the Health Secretary’s plans. A member of the Government's own Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told the BBC yesterday that the committee needs to review whether those vaccinated early on in the rollout still have strong protection. Professor Adam Finn said: ‘We clearly don't want to be giving vaccines to people that don't need them.’

That follows a powerful call from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a pause in Covid-19 vaccine boosters, as the gap between vaccinations in wealthy and poor countries widens. WHO argues it is unacceptable that countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines proceed with top-ups.

Dr Fivelman adds: ‘London Medical Laboratory is also supporting calls for the NHS to introduce new immune-boosting drugs designed to protect patients who fail to respond to the Covid vaccine. These new supplementary drugs are known as monoclonal antibodies and are already in use in America, Europe and Asia. They have been shown to significantly enhance the vaccine’s effectiveness in these high-risk groups. 

‘If anyone is concerned about their own immune response to the jabs and how well they continue to produce antibodies, the new generation tests are highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out, either in their own home or at a clinic.

‘For the latest information about the level of protection vaccinations offer against Covid-19, see London Medical Laboratory’s new White Paper at:

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Last Updated: 12-Aug-2021