Employers wary of 'immunity' tests as they move to reopen

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 15, 2020 - Duration: 02:11s

Employers wary of 'immunity' tests as they move to reopen

U.S. employers have cooled to the idea of testing workers for possible immunity to the coronavirus as they prepare to reopen factories and other workplaces.

This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.

Employers wary of 'immunity' tests as they move to reopen

Blood tests that check for antibodies to the new coronavirus have for months been touted by governments and disease experts as a way to identify those who have immunity to the disease.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: “That was stated as a fact.

Now it turns out maybe you’re not immune, if you had it.

Maybe you have some immunity, but not total immunity – we’re not sure.” That was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week, who’s not the only one who appears a bit frustrated about what, if any, assurance antibody tests provide.

Many U.S. companies have told Reuters they’re now not planning to use antibody tests as they prepare to reopen their doors, instead relying on face masks, temperature checks, social distancing and other diagnostic measures to test workers.

Their decision comes as recent reports suggest it’s too early to conclude that antibodies translate into immunity.

Some tests have also been known to give false negative or false positive responses.

Other employers worry about their liability if they administer and interpret such tests, or are concerned about test costs and availability.

A new antibody test from Roche looks to be highly accurate and could change corporate demand, but it has not done so yet, consultants and companies told Reuters.

When General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reopen production next week, they intend to offer diagnostic tests to workers, not antibody tests.

And Amazon’s on-site testing plan, now in development, does not include antibody testing.

But clarity on tests could be coming soon.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration set a deadline for all testing providers to prove their tests work or remove them from the market.

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