Employers are starting to roll out Covid-19 antibody tests for those returning to work — with some finding higher-than-anticipated positive results.
One London-based construction firm has found more than half of its staff have Covid-19 anitbodies, according to a report in building.co.uk.
The firm Collins Construction is the first contracting firm to offer Covid-19 antibody blood tests to all its employees and subcontractors. More than 230 people took up the offer.
The tests were carried out by Hammersmith-based Corona Test Centre, using the same testing protocol widely used in Germany during the pandemic.
Initial results show that 50.4 per cent of staff tested had antibodies, indicating that they have had the disease already. The tests which usually cost £175 per person were offered at a discounted rate of £100 and were paid for by the employer.
It is widely expected that some employers will look to offer these testing facilities to staff as the UK starts to move out of lockdown in stages. There is some scientific debate as to whether the presence of antibodies confers immunity, but there seem to be very few cases of people getting reinfected by this coronavirus.
Having this information could help firms plan a return to work and ensure additional provisions are in place for those who might be at greater risk of catching the virus.
EB consultants and corporate advisers say there is growing demand for such services as part of an overall benefit strategy.
Towergate Health & Protection distribution director Brett Hill says: “We are seeing interest from some employers for Covid-19 testing services, both for diagnostic tests to confirm if someone currently has the virus and should self-isolate, and for antibody tests to confirm if someone has had the virus and may now be immune.
“We believe some employers will be willing in principal to pay for such tests within reason, as they can form an important part of a return to work and absence management strategy.”
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