Covid-19 antibody testing to start for some regional health and local authority staff

Covid-19 antibody testing will be taking place for some health and local authority staff in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University (CTMU) Health Board region by the end of this month.

The Welsh Government is rolling out the antibody test, which is used to establish whether a person has been infected with coronavirus, in a phased way.

CTMU Health Board’s Director of Public Health Kelechi Nnoaham said: “The test is being offered to staff to see if they have been infected with Covid-19 and to further our understanding of transmission of the infection in Wales.

“If someone has been exposed to Covid-19 then they may have developed antibodies and a positive result means they have probably had coronavirus in the past.

“It is important to remember that a positive test which detects antibodies does not mean that you are necessarily protected against reinfection and it is possible that you could be infected by Covid-19 again.

“This means all guidelines around social distancing and good hygiene must still be followed and any future symptoms treated as a potential infection.”

In the first instance, staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units and Covid-19 wards will be among those in hospitals who will be tested with staff in schools also taking the test.

Professor Nnoaham added: “It can take more than two weeks to have an antibody response after exposure to Covid-19. A negative result could either mean that you haven’t been infected or you are in the time period before an antibody response could be generated by your body.

“A negative result could also mean that you may have had coronavirus but do not have detectable antibodies.”

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