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Antibody testing for Covid-19 is not without its complexities and challenges, especially for occupational health practitioners tasked with delivering it. But, as Paul Hillman argues, with Covid-19 cases rising so sharply in the UK, a well-managed, well-communicated programme can provide peace of mind for staff and employers alike.
With more than 80% of the UK adult population now double-jabbed and most restrictions lifted, the country’s workforce is back at the grindstone, working closely alongside colleagues once again.
However, with the colder weather setting in, and infection levels still high, how can occupational health teams help to monitor immunity and vaccine effectiveness in the workplace?
By understanding the possibilities provided by antibody testing, occupational health teams can provide a vital element in workplace management of the pandemic and its recovery.
Through the use of rapid antibody testing, occupational health can test employees to ensure they have acquired antibodies of coronavirus, through vaccination or through contracting the virus itself, and therefore provide peace of mind around the employee’s fitness for work and working alongside others.
Quick, convenient testing regime
Many rapid antibody tests have a very high clinical sensitivity. Ours at MEDsan UK, for example, is manufactured in Germany has a specificity of, and a sensitivity of, 98.3%.
The major benefits of using rapid antibody tests are they are quick, accurate, convenient and simple to use, requiring just a pinprick of blood and there is no waiting for laboratory results.
Rapid antibody tests work by examining Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies in the blood. The test separates the solid aspects of the blood sample from the blood plasma and combines them with the buffer solution which then proceeds through the membrane of the test device.
The antigens in the test device react with the Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies i