The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has outlined his plan to scale up testing for Corona Virus infection to protect the vulnerable, support the NHS and ultimately save lives. The Plan is being rolled out in phases across the country.
Phase 1 is currently testing for current infection using the swab tests in PHE labs and NHS hospitals. These tests are evidence based and appear to be sensitive and reliable. However, they can be negative if the person’s infection has moved onto their chest or lower respiratory tract or the person has recovered from the infection.
Phase 2 is to deliver increased commercial swab testing for critical key workers in the NHS across the UK, before expanding to key workers in other sectors.
Phase 3 is to develop a blood test to check for antibodies indicating the person has had the infection and is immune. The current tests available for antibodies are not yet evidence based and supported by Public Health England. Some private companies are offering these tests but there is not proven sensitivity and specificity. It is advisable to check for the CE accreditation mark.
Phase 4 is to conduct UK-wide surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the virus and help develop new tests and treatments.
Phase 5 is to create a National Effort for testing, to build a mass-testing capacity within the UK.
I have contacted our medical laboratories and they are not yet able to supply us with testing kits. I am therefore sorry that we are not yet able to provide this service for your organisation.
Currently we would advise you to rely on individual risk assessments for each employee. Please contact us if you need further help and advice for this process. We are able to offer a short 15 minute consultation for employees with medical conditions.
We will inform our clients by email and also on this Blog when we are able to offer this service.