Why Quarterly COVID-19 Antibody Testing Should Be a Part of Every Senior Care Community’s Infection Surveillance Program
Date: March 21, 2022 | By: Ellsworth Harris, CEO, AMS Infection Prevention Partners
Science has added yet another invaluable tool in our battle to control COVID-19. As we hopefully step down from pandemic to epidemic status, we will forever have risks of COVID-19 infection, especially among our senior population. It is estimated that 355 million of us in the U.S. have either been vaccinated or contracted COVID-19 and antibodies that fight the virus have been produced.
But antibodies are not permanent and how long they provide immunity has yet to be scientifically validated. In general, early studies show shedding of antibodies among seniors is more advanced. So, what can we do to protect our seniors, especially those in senior care communities where the risk of outbreaks is of constant concern?
Administering a quarterly COVID-19 antibody test that identifies seniors at high, medium or low risk for contracting COVID-19 should now be an integral part of all senior care community’s infection surveillance program. The aggregated data can be used by the community’s infection preventionist and medical director to make decisions on vaccines, boosters, cohorting, implementing enhanced infection prevention protocols, and understand in general the community’s risk for an outbreak.
Not all antibody tests are alike--be sure to choose one that has an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Secondly, choose one that identifies the antibodies that add COVID-19 protection. AMS Infection Prevention Partners works with a laboratory that utilizes qNAT technology (or Quantitative Neutralizing Antibody). The qNAT test targets those “special forces” antibodies. Unfortunately, technology has not yet created an “at home” version of this test similar to our COVID-19 rapid tests. A finger prick for blood is required and it has to be sent back to the lab for results.
My guess is science and technology will help us with this requirement soon, but for now a lab is required. Science and technology have come a long way in a very short time, providing us with better, faster, stronger, and more effective tools in our battle with COVID-19. Consider antibody testing as a highly effective tool to control future outbreaks.
To learn more about AMS Infection Prevention Partners’ antibody testing recommendations or to get your community started, contact us today.