Healthcare Staff Perceptions and Misconceptions regarding Antibody Testing in the United Kingdom: Implications for the next steps for antibody screening


Background Healthcare workers have been at increased risk of exposure, infection and serious complications from COVID-19. Antibody testing has been used to identify staff members who have been previously infected by SARS-CoV-2, and has been rolled out rapidly in the United Kingdom. a number of published comment and editorial articles raising concerns about antibody testing in this context. We present perceptions of NHS healthcare workers in relation to SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. Methods Electronic survey regarding perceptions towards SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing which was distributed to all healthcare workers at a major NHS tertiary hospital following implementation of antibody testing. Results In total, 560 healthcare workers completed the survey (80% female; 25% of BAME background; 58% from frontline clinical staff). Exploring whether they previously had COVID-19 was the primary reported reason for choosing to undergo antibody testing (85.2%). In case of a positive antibody test, 72% reported that they would feel relieved, whilst 48% felt that they would be happier to work in a patient-facing area. Moreover, 12% responded that a positive test would mean “social distancing is less important”, with 34% of the responders indicating that in this case they would be both less likely to catch COVID-19 and happier to visit friends/relatives. Conclusions NHS staff members primarily seek out SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing for an appropriate reason. Based on our findings and given the lack of definite data regarding the extent of immunity protection from a positive SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, significant concerns may be raised regarding the reported interpretation by healthcare workers of positive antibody test results. This needs to be further explored and addressed to protect NHS staff and patients.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Medical School
Additional Information: © 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publication ISSN: 1532-2939
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 07:36
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2023 14:28
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.sci ... 195670120305430 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-05
Published Online Date: 2020-12-10
Accepted Date: 2020-11-23
Authors: Robbins, Tim
Kyrou, Ioannis (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-6997-3439)
Laird, Steven
Morgan, Nina
Anderson, Neil
Imray, Christopher
Patel, Kiran
Sankar, Sailesh
Randeva, Harpal
Jones, Ceri

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record