Hancock said he could still not say those who tested positive were certainly immune however.
In contrast to the widely used PCR tests, which need be processed at different temperatures, the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) swab test does not require a change in temperature to detect results.
The health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the deal had been agreed with Swiss drugmaker Roche (ROG.SW) and U.S. drugmaker Abbott (ABT) in the government's daily televised coronavirus briefing on Thursday.
Antibody testing has been regularly billed by Boris Johnson and ministers as "a game changer" in the response to the virus, but previous antibody tests have proved unreliable. Tests are unreliable, the volume of testing needed is unfeasible and the threats to privacy and marginalised groups who would likely face even greater scrutiny all mean that immunity passports are a bad idea, they wrote.More news: The EU's strict rules may delay coronavirus contact-tracing apps
Hancock also reported a 14% decrease in COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals since last week.
"Our action today is an important step the agency has taken to ensure that Americans have access to trustworthy tests", FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., said in an agency statement. A positive test may, however, be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43 or 229E.
The news came as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the United Kingdom had made a deal to receive up to 10m antibody tests, a different type of test which detects whether someone has previously had the virus.More news: NY son kills father during Zoom meeting
However, scientists still aren't sure whether having antibodies means long-lasting protection from the disease. "We can probably get you in", said a representative at the WellNow urgent care clinic in Irondequoit.
Hancock said yesterday: "This new test could provide accurate results nearly on the spot. It's that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us to understand more in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, of dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus".
Also speaking at the No 10 briefing, Prof John Newton, who is in charge of the government's testing efforts, said quick test results were a key element. We can not clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next'. He said these would be rolled out as fast as possible if successful.More news: China may pass bill to crack down on Hong Kong opposition