· Insights

Testing - a positive case of reassurance

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world, changing every aspect of life as we knew it. From our family, social lives and travel dreams, to our homes and working arrangements, COVID-19 has turned the world on its head and left us with what we’re now referring to as our ‘new normal’.

Except it doesn’t quite feel normal yet. Despite four months since the beginning of lockdown, we’re still making adjustments to our old ways of living and working, and this is particularly the case for employers, as government urges businesses to get back up and running and to encourage staff back to the workplace.

Everyone has the right to a safe place of work but this brand new challenge for company leaders and HR managers is proving difficult to navigate as we grapple with the latest guidelines on what’s expected and is acceptable when it comes to reopening our businesses.

As well as the traditional health and safety measures, employers must now review every aspect of their business to make sure they are ‘COVID-safe’. Aspects of working life that we previously took for granted such as lunching locations and toilet facilities are now being discussed and reconfigured to the nth degree.

Meanwhile, some companies are making provisions for plastic screens, thermal cameras and hand gel dispensers. Making the workplace safe is suddenly more costly and requires a whole new repertoire of planning, equipment and installation.

Businesses are not only dealing with the logistics and practicalities of a returning workforce, but also the great task of reassuring their staff they will be coming back to a safe place. Employees will need to be reassured all measures are being taken to protect them from contracting the virus while at work.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental tools in providing that reassurance, over and above the hand gels and the face masks, is the provision of COVID-19 testing. Unlike the other safety measures, testing will allow you to screen your workforce and isolate carriers of the virus, immediately.

Testing has long been acknowledged as one of the keys to fighting COVID-19, yet much confusion still exists about the availability of testing, types of testing and what differentiates them.

Essentially, there are two types – one to detect a current infection and one to detect a previous infection – via our world-class testing laboratory, AlphaBiolabs provides both.

Our IgM-IgG Combined Antibody Test is one of the world’s first rapid screening tests for the detection of coronavirus-specific antibodies following an infection. Its dual functionality can identify a positive case from 21 days after exposure, and from seven days onwards after the onset of symptoms.

Our COVID-19 antibody test originated in Germany and is widely used as part of testing programmes throughout Germany. It has been evaluated by our NHS and deemed, ‘fit for use’ – becoming part of a staff-wide screening scheme within a North West-based NHS Trust.

Our COVID-19-specific screening kits can determine whether an individual has had previous exposure to the virus by looking for specific antibodies produced by the immune system in response to a COVID-19 infection. If they are detected, the test has the capacity to show whether exposure to the virus is recent or ‘historical’ and gives an employer and employee vital information. Results are available within 15 minutes: there is no need to send any samples away for testing. However, it is important to note, current scientific information states that a previous infection does not indicate immunity.

In addition, our rt PCR COVID-19 swab test can help management and employees determine their current infection status and whether they are actively carrying the virus, and therefore potentially contagious.

This test involves a nose/throat sample and can be performed by the employee themselves or overseen by a company health worker. Samples are sent back to our UK-based laboratories and examined by our team of experienced scientists who will return your result within 1–2 days.

Our COVID-19 tests are part of a suite of testing solutions that we offer employers looking to take that extra step towards protecting their workforce and keeping their business operational.

AlphaBiolabs has been providing award-winning DNA, drug and alcohol testing solutions to workplaces across the UK, since 2004.

We have worked with multiple companies, large and small, across many sectors, to tailor the best individual drug and alcohol testing policies possible. We provide fully trained and experienced sample collectors who can be onsite within two hours with our state-of-the-art testing equipment – giving instant on-site results with the provision of a rapid 24-hour ‘back to lab’ confirmatory testing service where non-negative results occur.

Like the world around us, our package of support for businesses has adapted to meet the new demands employers are facing – let AlphaBiolabs work with you to help keep your employees safe, your workplaces open and your business operational.

We work with you every step of the way to make sure that your COVID testing, as well as your drug and alcohol testing, is in place as your staff return to work sites.

Rachel Davenport is Commercial Director at AlphaBiolabs

Established in 2004, AlphaBiolabs is a UKAS ISO 17025-accredited laboratory providing award-winning DNA, drug and alcohol, and COVID-19 testing solutions to workplaces across the UK and overseas.