COVID-19 serology testing marks first-year anniversary and over 54,000 tests

28 May 2021, 10:43 p.m.

Saturday 29 May marked a year since we began offering serology testing for COVID-19 at our Chemical Pathology laboratory at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

During that time, our lab has processed more than 54,000 COVID-19 antibody requests, 20,000 of which have been for patients tested on admission.  At the peak of testing, the laboratory were processing in excess of 1,000 COVID-19 antibody requests per day.

This vital service was initially set up to test asymptomatic staff and small cohorts of patients; however, this was quickly expanded to include colleagues from Gloucestershire Health and Care Trust, Gloucestershire CCG, Gloucestershire Primary Care, NHS England, the Police, Ambulance, and Fire services across the South West, social care staff, and ultimately the SIREN study.

All staff testing has been reported by a text messaging service that was quickly mobilised by the Learning and Development team, who have sent over 34,000 text messages to essential workers since going live with the service!    

During the second wave, a more advanced COVID-19 Antibody test that allows the detection of responses to vaccines as well as to previous infection was introduced for patient testing on admission 24/7.  This novel approach maintained low nosocomial infection rates and helped manage patient flow through our hospitals at the peak of the second wave because we could place patients safely within our hospitals, using their antibody status to reduce the risk as much as possible.

Thank you to our colleagues from across the organisation who have worked so hard to deliver this essential service and contributed to keeping us all safe by doing so.