Antibody Protected Workforce

Given that there is not yet a vaccine available but we do now have a reliable laboratory-based antibody test, the latter can be used as a starting point for returning to normality by creating an “antibody protected workforce”. Here is how I would make use of it to help release the lockdown without risking a sudden rise in new cases.

1) Provided that the antibody test is widely enough available, I believe that it should be given to all NHS and care staff at the front line as soon as possible in order to establish who has had the disease and is highly unlikely to contract it again in the near future. This would enable gradual recommencement of essential NHS clinics and treatments which would be run by the virus-free personnel concerned. To enable very strict social distancing in hospitals, the numbers of patients would have to be restricted to those who are in most clinical need and whose wellbeing is under threat, such as cancer patients or anybody needing urgent operations.
2) Once the NHS has tested all appropriate personnel, I would roll out the antibody test to essential workers who have to undertake tasks that have a strong health and safety element, such as gas boiler servicing engineers or plumber and electricians undertaking emergency work. At present, it is potentially unsafe for both the homeowner and the contractor concerned if they have to make home visits as neither party knows if the other is or has been infected by COVID-19.
3) I would then prioritise other essential workers who have a major role in society and contributing to the economy such as; schoolteachers and their support staff, public transport workers, supermarket retail staff, logistics personnel and local authority key workers, for example.
4) Finally, the test could be made available to the public on a needs basis, such as enabling those most at risk from the virus due to age and comorbidities to be freed from lockdown without risking their health.
As the antibody tests were made more widely available, the lockdown could be released in tandem with lessened risk of community spread as the workforce concerned should be immune from infection and could not infect members of the public they come in contact with. A central register of positive antibody cases would be required which some may object to, but most reasonable people would accept the need for this in the current circumstances.

Why the contribution is important

Allow the country to slowly get back to normal without any apparent risk to the workforce or the public.

by Engineer on May 05, 2020 at 06:56PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.2
Based on: 7 votes


  • Posted by JoeOH May 05, 2020 at 19:12

    The antibody test doesn’t prove immunity according to England's deputy chief medical officer, so until we know more I don’t think that would work?
  • Posted by Ppdbeaker May 05, 2020 at 19:12

    Sadly antibody tests not worth paper results written on at present as no one knows of having had C19 gives either any immunity or if some then how long for - not all viruses are the same and the body does ‘forget’ a large number of these, hence getting colds a lot rather than once.

    No phasing can be based on unproven testing basis just actions calculated on estimated risks without a vaccine being present.
  • Posted by Phoebe May 05, 2020 at 20:43

    Agreed. Good idea to get a group of safe people. They have to volunteer. Just as no vaccine is 100% so a persons immunity can go up and down.

    Perhaps as these tests are not 100% use two or three different tests before confirming each person.

    And ASAP get a test where a titre say above a certain number of units is good to go.
  • Posted by andrewtlloyd May 06, 2020 at 12:48

    Whilst there is undoubtedly debate about whether having had COVID-19 and recovered provides any long-lasting immunity, personally, I'd be happy to return to less socially-distanced environments if I knew for sure that I had indeed recovered from the virus. I live in Scotland but worked in helping to build three of the NHS Nightingale Hospitals in England. I strongly suspect that I caught the virus in London (at the ExCeL) albeit my symptoms were mild. I was refused a test (by NHS England) so went in to self-isolation before returning to work. I'd happily go back in to the "front line" (in the NHS) or venture in to less socially distanced spaced (e.g. busy public transport) if I knew I'd had the virus. I suspect the same will be true for many workers (essential or otherwise). At some point, we do need our economy to function more normally.
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