Diagnostics business Technopath is offering Irish employers access to a coronavirus antibody test at cost price to help get people back to work.
The testing will be carried out by the Tipperary business, which is a world player in diagnostics quality control, using tests from Abbott Diagnostics and Roche Diagnostics.
Technopath founder Malcolm Bell said the testing kits were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and were being used by the HSE and British health authorities. He said the company could conduct 2,000 tests a day at its laboratory in Ballina in Tipperary.
“Companies in Ireland are looking for ways to reopen their businesses by taking every step to reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure while making employees feel safe returning to work,” said Mr Bell, who is chief executive.
Offering the tests on a not-for-profit basis will allow cash-pressed employers to access testing at half the standard price – a modest double-figure sum.
Mr Bell noted that there was a significant range in prices for such tests, depending on the provider and the channel used. “The pricing for everything Covid-related is crazy,” he said. “A couple of months ago, suppliers were looking for $200 a millilitre for Covid-positive plasma [used to treat seriously ill patients and for clinical trials]. Now the price has dropped to around $12 per millilitre.
“Given that the Department of Health is now indicating that our nation may be facing a prolonged acute emergency for the foreseeable future, there is an urgent need to equip companies with the opportunity to offer their employees antibody tests.”
Technopath will initially offer the tests to companies through occupational heath provider Corporate Health Ireland. It will collect and arrange the transport of samples to the Tipperary lab, identifiable only via a barcode. Results will be sent back electronically.