Rapid antigen testing 'could offer reassurance' in schools and workplaces

Rapid antigen testing 'could offer reassurance' in schools and workplaces

Ed Donovan of Advanced Medical Services, Little Island, Co Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

The CEO of a Cork-based company providing onsite medical services has said that rapid antigen testing could be an alternative route out of rolling lockdowns and could prove crucial in schools.

Ed Donovan, who is the CEO of Advanced Medical Services (AMS), started providing Covid-19 testing for workplaces and private individuals last May and in January of this year, the company introduced rapid antigen testing to their service offering.

To date, it has processed more than 13,000 tests with results returned within 30 minutes, an advantage that Mr Donovan said could be particularly useful for schools.

“In terms of schools, for example, the reassurance that rapid testing could offer for teachers, parents and students would have huge ramifications. Likewise in office settings, for people to be able to confidently go about their daily lives again, with confidence that they will be at reduced risk of picking up the virus, would be a massive step forward,” he said.

Mr Donovan said that before Covid-19, the company was busy providing cardiac screening and health screening options for its corporate clients and schools before everything started to cancel “pretty much overnight” last March.

“Like everyone, we realised after the first few weeks that this was going to be a long-term change. At that point we asked ourselves, what could we do?

“At first, we put into action our home-based testing kits allowing people to provide a blood sample which we tested for diabetes or checked cholesterol levels. These are very popular with both our corporate clients and private individuals,” he said.

Advanced Medical Services expects the way Irish people value their health has changed long-term due to Covid-19 with an almost immediate demand for the testing service and a surge of clients in private Covid testing clinics in Cork and Dublin in December and January which Mr Donovan said was “mainly down to people travelling home over Christmas”.

“It was certainly the busiest we have been in terms of requests for Covid testing in the last 12 months. It also reflects a wider shift towards people proactively taking responsibility for their own health.

“I definitely think that will be a real positive to come out of this. We expect to see a rise in people monitoring their wellbeing,” he said.

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