Over 1,000 healthcare workers tested for COVID-19 Antibodies

A third of IOW NHS Trust staff have now been tested to see if they have had the COVID-19 infection.

The test looks for antibodies in the blood that have been produced by the body in response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

A positive Antibody test shows that someone has developed antibodies to the virus which signals that the body has staged an immune response.

So far results show that only around 8% of IOW NHS Trust staff tested have antibodies to the virus with 92% producing a negative result.

Dr Emily Macnaughton, Consultant Microbiologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, said: “I want to say a really big thank you to our occupational health, phlebotomy and laboratory teams for all of their hard work in getting the COVID-19 Antibody testing up and running so quickly.

“We have already completed more than 1300 staff and patient tests on the Island in less than 4 weeks which is a really amazing achievement in such a short space of time.

“At this stage, we do not yet know if a positive Antibody test result means that the person and anyone they have had contact with, are safe from future infection and for how long. Our understanding of the virus is growing all the time as new scientific evidence and studies emerge.

“So it’s really important that even if people test positive for antibodies, they continue following Government guidance on hand washing, social distancing and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks so that we can keep everyone safe from COVID-19.”

Charlene Summerfield, an Anaesthetic Co-ordinator at St. Mary’s Hospital wanted to have the Antibody test as she was so poorly earlier this year. Charlene said: “There was a succession of sickness in our team in early December and it would be really interesting to know if that was COVID as we were all really unwell with similar symptoms.”

Antibody testing forms part of a national programme led by NHS England. The results will provide more detailed knowledge about how widely the infection has spread across the country.