You may have been offered antibody testing for your staff. It’s a quick procedure, a fingerprick blood sample, added to a cassette that looks a lot like a pregnancy test and five minutes later you have an answer, positive or negative. But, is it worth the cost?

Will it tell me if an employee has coronavirus?
No, it will only tell you if they’ve had it in the past. The antibodies for Covid-19 only show up in the bloodstream between 7 and 21 days after infection.

Will it tell me if my employee has immunity from Covid-19?
No. No-one is yet sure whether a previous infection will confer any immunity to future infections or how long any acquired immunity might last. For now, you must consider that any employee is equally able to contract and spread Covid-19 and take precautions to control exposure.

At this point in time the main purpose of antibody testing is to give the scientists information about the spread of the virus and how it has affected different populations, which is why the NHS are using it on their staff and sharing the data with a worldwide study. But if you wanted to know if Liz from accounts was justified in spending two weeks on the couch watching Netflix because she had a cough – go ahead.

Use of Testing for SARS COVID-19 in Return to Work and Employment Situations