Requiring international arrivals to the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days is designed to keep the COVID-19 transmission rate down, reduce cases being brought in from abroad and prevent a devastating second wave.
Before considering whether antibody testing could ever be used to lessen or exempt specific individuals from self-isolation measures, we first need to improve our understanding of how the immune system responds to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a new disease and the science around ‘immunity’ to the virus remains uncertain. There is no strong evidence yet to suggest that those who have been proven to have had the virus are immune. We do not know, for example, how long an antibody response to the virus lasts nor whether having antibodies means one does not transmit the virus to others.