Beaumont Health offers blood antibody testing to 38,000 employees, inpatients

Southfield, Mich.-based Beaumont Health is offering to test employees' blood as part of a study of COVID-19 antibodies.

The health system said the serological study aims to determine how many people among Beaumont's 38,000 employees and thousands of affiliates have COVID-19 antibodies and never reported symptoms. Antibodies are created by the body to fight viruses and other infections and can remain after a person recovers from COVID-19.

By identifying the number of people who have COVID-19 antibodies, Beaumont seeks to gain knowledge about disease transmission and whether COVID-19 antibodies offer protection after infection.

The health system said it wants to know how susceptible hospital employees are to acquiring COVID-19 as well as what the relationship is between antibody levels and symptoms or the severity of COVID-19. It also seeks to determine whether people's antibody response increases or decreases over time and whether COVID-19 antibodies protect people from a new COVID-19 infection.

"In addition to answering key questions on infection spread and the percentage of total asymptomatic cases in a community, we intend to relieve anxiety through a better understanding of the spread of the infection across Beaumont Health," Richard Kennedy, PhD, Beaumont Health's vice president for research and director of the Beaumont Research Institute, said in a news release.

As of April 7, Beaumont Health reported that about 1,500 employees were staying home due to having symptoms consistent with COVID-19. An update was not available April 14.

For its study, Beaumont will use two PerkinElmer, EUROLabWorkstations and EUROIMMUN Anti-SARS-CoV-2 ELISA testing kits. The study is voluntary and initially will be limited to inpatients and employees and affiliates of Beaumont. 

The health system said the testing capability will be available to other area hospital systems after initial results come in from Beaumont patients and staff.

Initial funding for the study is being provided through more than $3 million in philanthropic contributions by donors Sidney and Madeline Forbes; Nathan and Catherine Forbes; Levy Dresner Foundation; Stephen and Bobbi Polk; Warren Rose and the Rose Family; Mickey, Steven, Margie and Edward Shapiro; and Gwen and S. Evan Weiner. 

More information about the study is available here


More articles on workforce:
How the pandemic is affecting nonclinical hospital workers
Kaiser Permanente, unions agree on benefits to help front-line workers during pandemic
NYC Health + Hospitals to hire 500 nonclinical workers 

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