Martek launches COVID-19 screening tests

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In response to the new EU and IMO Guidelines designed to protect seafarers, UK-based Martek Lifecare (part of James Fisher and Sons plc) says it has been working to provide essential industry screening test to stop COVID-19 infection.

The company has now launched CoronaSafe, a finger prick antibody screening test, which is claimed with one single drop of blood, to detect IgM antibodies within 5-7 days of infection. Martek Lifecare says the test has been proven in clinical trials of 570 patients during the recent outbreak to deliver >95% accurate diagnosis of COVID-19.

Martek’s Antigen tests screen directly for the virus itself providing soonest possible detection. Samples are taken using swabs from the nose and throat and are sent to a UKAS accredited laboratory for machine processing, delivering results within 2 days.

By implementing a combined antibody and antigen test protocol, esteemed medical opinion reports a 98.6% detection rate within the first 5.5 days of infection. Infected employees without symptoms pose the biggest risk to employers and an article in the British Medical Journal reports that four fifths of cases are asymptomatic. According to McKinsey, studies in China and Singapore report that asymptomatic transmission may account for ~50% of cases.

Such employees left undiagnosed (i.e. without pre- screening) would potentially spread the infection throughout the workplace, while being totally oblivious. Antibody tests are the most effective and appropriate way to diagnose this category of subject, with 97% clinical specificity. Research by McKinsey concludes that, “Antibody tests are currently the best method for detecting asymptomatic cases”.

Martek says its CoronaSafe antibody test is approved and certified by the European Union as meeting the safety, quality and performance requirements of Standard IVDD 98/79/EC – the highest standard applicable for these devices. It’s also in wide scale use by authorities/corporations in Japan, China, Germany, Poland, Indonesia and is formally certified by the China Food and Drug Administration, Philippines Food and Drug Administration and the Singapore Health Sciences Authority.

Martek’s CEO Paul Luen commented, “Screening employees through a regimen of combined antigen and antibody testing is a critical step to prevent avoidable transmission from asymptomatic employees while informing critical return to work decisions. Major corporations worldwide are rushing to adopt these occupational screening tests to help control the spread of this deadly virus, with demand rising rapidly as the crisis deepens. Martek, which has limited supply of the tests, is urging employers to act quickly to define their policy for occupational screening, in order to maintain – or return to – normal operations while protecting the health and well-being of their employees”.

Martek cites the following references in support of its assertions and claims:

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