The IAFC, along with the Western Division of Fire Chiefs, have partnered with Constellis to make fire chiefs aware of two new products that are being used to combat the COVID-19 virus. One is a Rapid Test for the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The second is a UV-C Disinfectant for vehicle or station cleaning. Both of these products have been reviewed by multiple bodies of experts and shown to have great value to the Fire and EMS service.
The Rapid COVID 19 Test Kit available from Centerra (a Constellis company) is intended to identify firefighters, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, and other essential public safety workers that have been previously exposed to the COVID virus and are asymptomatic. It is not intended to be a go/no go for public safety workers to report to work or continue to work. It may not indicate that the worker is currently infected with the COVID-19 virus.
The test is a simple blood test similar to a fingerstick glucose test used for diabetics. A responder can administer the test with minimal medical training, and the results are available in 15 minutes, without the need to transport samples to a lab for analysis.
The Rapid COVID 19 Test Kit available from Centerra tests for two antibodies. The antibody IgM tends to indicate recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2, which leads to COVID-19, and the antibody IgG indicates virus exposure and an immune response some time ago, which makes the person more immunized from reinfection for some time.
An asymptomatic person with lgG antibodies may have resistance to reinfection and may be more suitable for public-facing public safety work than an individual with the lgM antibody or neither.
These well individuals may also be candidates for plasma donation to assist the ill with recovery and/or contribute to a prophylactic approach to preventing the spread of the disease.
Fire departments, law enforcement agencies, medical providers, and other public safety agencies can use the Rapid COVID 19 Test Kit available from Centerra as a speedy way to reliably determine which staff members have been exposed to the COVID 19 virus some time ago and are asymptomatic.
It is recommended that Emergency Services Agencies do a broad-spectrum test of all employees to identify those individuals that have the antibodies and can safely return to the workforce with less risk of reinfection. For individuals that test negative for antibodies, it is recommended that they are placed in high priority line to receive molecular testing for early detection of COVID-19 and/or a confirmatory test.
While it might be impossible to figure out who is going to become sick with novel coronavirus, some public health experts believe the more critical question may be who has already been exposed.
From an ABC News report:
"The goal of this is to show you can predictably get an entire county back to its new normal as quickly as possible by using testing," said Lou Reese, co-CEO of United Biomedical and its COVAXX subsidiary.
Reese stressed that, if successful, the testing program could be expanded, "starting at the hot-spot areas right now to solve this problem, stop the panic and get people to their lives and back to work."
"This could be a big breakthrough," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of antibody testing during a briefing Saturday.
Reese said it could be a silver bullet.
"Antibody testing specifically is the fastest path of scientifically and mathematically getting to a new normal," Reese said.
Since the Food and Drug Administration announced an Emergency Use Authorization policy for antibody testing last week, laboratories across the U.S. have been rushing to develop their own antibody tests.
The Second Product is the UV-C Disinfectant Tool that is a fully integrated solution to advance disinfection capabilities in response to COVID-19 Pandemic and National Disaster. Their solution also includes industry expert Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) disinfection methods that provide a chemical-free, no-touch method of killing germs on surfaces and in the air. Our UV disinfection systems are widely used in hospitals and long-term facilities, and this same solution and service are available to businesses, academic institutions, and residents. Our UV systems have proven very effective in laboratory tests in major universities doing work with the EPA, CDC, and other federal agencies.