HSE launches study into Covid-19 antibodies in healthcare workers
"All of the information gained from this study will ultimately help the health services prepare for increasing number of cases."
The HSE has announced it has begun a study into the rates of previous Covid-19 infections in healthcare workers in two large acute hospitals in Ireland.
Workers in St James’s Hospital (SJH), Dublin and University Hospital Galway (GUH) are being invited to have a simple blood test to determine the presence of Covid-19 antibodies.
The test will be repeated in six months time and the data compared.
It's open to all staff in all departments across the two hospitals and is entirely voluntary, with approximately 9,500 staff eligible.
Commenting on the study, Dr Lorraine Doherty, HSE National Clinical Director for Health Protection said: “The PRECISE Study aims to calculate the prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies, or Covid-19 antibodies in healthcare workers in two hospitals in two distinct areas of the country.
"It will help the health service better understand this new infection, including the risk factors relevant to healthcare workers, for example the areas they work in and the type of patient exposure they have, as well as factors such as their sex, age and living arrangements.
“It will help the health services to broadly estimate the number of healthcare workers that may have some degree of immunity to Covid-19 infection and those that are still at risk of contracting the virus.
"It will identify the proportion of healthcare staff who have the antibodies present but were asymptomatic and therefore possible unaware of their exposure to the virus. All of the information gained from this study will ultimately help the health services prepare for increasing number of cases,” she said.
The blood tests for the study will take place from 14-23 October and the first results are expected by the end of November.