CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has issued a reminder to residents that there is no evidence that coronavirus antibody testing provides long-term immunity.

The reminder comes as some schools and other organisations in the borough have been targeted by private companies offering antibody tests for as much as £30 per person.

Extensive antibody testing for some patients, NHS staff and social care workers, is being carried out across Cheshire and Merseyside.

However, this is primarily for research and surveillance purposes at this stage as there is currently no clinical benefit to knowing whether you have antibodies.

As well as not proving any type of immunity, tests being offered by private providers are not fully validated and so their accuracy is unknown.

Ian Ashworth, director of public health for west Cheshire, said: “The message for residents, business and other organisations is that there is currently no clinical benefit to having an antibody test.

“We would not encourage anyone to seek out or agree to a private test, as it is not certain to provide a reliable result and will not give them any indication as to any sort of immunity.

“The only validated way to have an antibody test is to go through an NHS service, which is currently prioritising some patients NHS staff and key workers in social care.

“However, this still only shows whether you have had the virus and not if you are immune.

“The best advice is to only have an antibody test if you are asked to do so by your employer, GP or when in an NHS setting like a hospital.

“If you are asked to be tested, please ensure that is through official NHS Test and Trace channels.”