Serology tests to jumpstart Valenzuela industries i
As Valenzuela City is home to 1,425 factories and warehouses, it is imperative to ensure that these working environments remain free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Following the opening of the Valenzuela City Serology Laboratory on August 18, serology testing of some 51,000 factory workers of the city will now start this October.
Valenzuela City’s very own machine-based serology testing using two (2) Abbott ARCHITECT i1000SR, the pilot client to conduct both Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin M (IgM) machine-based antibody tests, can release around 1,300 test results per day.
Partnerships with industrial businesses in the city are now in the works for the testing of their entire workforce using the serology testing machines.
Valenzuela City Mayor REX Gatchalian shares, “We have seen numerous factories open up their business, only to be shuttered again because of certain COVID-19 cases inside the company. It is not sustainable, in fact, it only makes it more costly for companies… The challenge for companies during the post-ECQ time is to jumpstart factories and production lines, without having to fear that an outbreak in the company will hamper and shut it down again.”
He further explains, “The city intends to use these machines for the industrial establishments. We will give them a complete antibody profile of their workforce that can be used for safe and sustainable continuity of their operations. …This is important so that you can pretty much schedule your workforce properly. You can identify which set of employees can work from home and which employees are more vulnerable.”
Depending on the serology test results and medical evaluation, pertinent medical intervention will be provided to patients. Possible transfer to quarantine facilities and isolation procedures will likewise be implemented.
Presently, serology testing has begun for Valenzuela City Hall employees in the frontlines. Of the initial 309 Valenzuela City Hall employees tested, 220 employees or 71% tested negative for both IgG and IgM, and 6 employees or 2% had negative IgG and positive IgM results. Forty-three (43) employees or 14% yielded both positive IgG and IgM results. While the remaining 40 or 13% tested positive for IgG and negative for IgM.
Serology testing is a welcome development in Valenzuela’s COVID-19 response as it provides a faster, but still very accurate way of testing with only a fraction of the cost of the swab test. The serology machines can run 65 tests per hour using a more cost-efficient kit priced at only Php 910.
Serology test results explained
Serology is a kind of blood test that detects signs of previous COVID-19 infections. It also looks for the presence of antibodies which are specific proteins made in response to infections.
Immunoglobulin M (lgM) are antibodies that act as the first line of defense, which appear within several days of infection. While Immunoglobulin G (lgG) antibodies develop later as the body cleans up the infection.
The serology test can yield four (4) possible combinations. A result of negative IgM and negative IgG means that no ongoing infection and post-infection antibodies are found in the patient and no further test is required.
While a result of negative IgM and positive IgG means that the patient should consult the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) for further assessment.
And a result of positive IgM and positive IgG or positive IgM and negative IgG means that the patient will have to undergo real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and also confer with the CESU for further review.
Like the RT-PCR tests currently used in the City, this new innovation of maximizing the use of machine-based serology tests helps give a clearer picture on the infection rate on a certain locality as it helps in immune surveillance and quarantine restrictions. This is also in keeping with the local government unit’s intensified localized targeted mass testing initiatives that endeavors to test 10% of its total population by the end of the year.
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