Highlands & Islands MSP Maree Todd (pictured) has praised the Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratory in Raigmore Hospital Inverness for ‘vital contribution’ to a crucial pilot study in antibody testing.
Antibody tests are currently used in Scotland for surveillance purposes and can provide population-level information on COVID-19 prevalence.
Public Health Scotland recently published data from their surveillance programme to estimate the proportion of people who have antibodies to coronavirus.
The results of the study estimated 4.3% of Scotland’s population have antibodies to the virus.
An antibody test also has the ability to detect asymptomatic and mild infections.
The study which commenced on the 20 April involved six health boards across Scotland, including NHS Highland.
All test samples taken were anonymised and then sent to the Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratory in Inverness for testing.
Commenting MSP Maree Todd, and Pharmacist by profession, said:
“The team at the Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratory in Inverness are making an absolutely vital contribution to our national efforts in tackling this virus.
“Gathering and interpreting data and monitoring change is a key component of good surveillance, and antibody testing plays an important role in this.
“The information provided by the pilot study has been crucial to our understanding of coronavirus.
“This is demonstrated in the data recently published by Public Health Scotland where the body has been able to provide an estimation on the proportion of people who have antibodies to coronavirus in Scotland.
“This really is pioneering work and it’s fantastic to see the Highlands leading the way on this.
“It’s important we recognise and appreciate our key workers ‘behind the scenes’, who continue to work tirelessly to better understand the virus.
“Of course, the ultimate goal is to find a vaccine, but studies on antibody tests, and ways of treating COVID-19 patients, for example, are also vital.”