A YORK firm has run into a dispute after launching a new antibody test which can tell people whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

YorkTest Laboratories said it had partnered with Abbott Laboratories and Eurofins County Pathology to offer one of two UK Government approved antibody testing kits.

It said its Covid-19 IgG Antibody test, which costs £89, had been approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and Public Health England.

It said it was working with an accredited laboratory partner so people could finally find out whether they had been exposed to the coronavirus without having to go to a hospital, although a positive result didn’t mean they would be immune.

YorkTest, of Monks Cross, which specialises in tests for food intolerances and allergies, said customers would receive a YorkTest CE marked simple finger-prick blood test to take a sample in the comfort of their home and return it in the post for testing at the Abbott laboratory.

But Abbott said its test had been validated for use with a venous blood sample taken by a healthcare provider and was not intended for use as a home test and should not be conducted with a finger stick blood sample.

“The use of the Abbott name, our data and our materials by any companies in connection with these home tests has not been authorised by Abbott, and we regard them as misleading in that these sites imply Abbott condones the use of finger stick samples with our test. This is false and not correct.”

PHE said its scientific experts had been evaluating a number of lab-based antibody assays including those produced by Roche and Abbott using serum samples, but said: “We have not evaluated any lab-based tests that involve people taking their own blood sample at home.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said antibody testing was an important part of its strategy to counter the spread of Covid-19.

YorkTest managing director Richard Dawson, invited to respond to Abbott’s comments, said it was "absolutely delighted" to be working with Eurofins County Pathology to help the Government and PHE.