House: Burt names antibody tests firm

Healgen Scientific LLC in the United States was revealed as the supplier of Covid-19 antibody tests being offered at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory in Southside, St David’s.

The company is a global provider of diagnostic testing systems.

The details came from David Burt, the Premier, in response to parliamentary questions from Opposition backbencher Michael Dunkley on Friday.

Mr Burt was unable to tell the House of Assembly what other countries were using the Healgen test kits.

But he said they had been approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, covered by the Australian Ministry of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Association.

Mr Burt said the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association, a Commonwealth government agency, “represents a country that has done particularly well” in the pandemic.

Responding to questions on the test’s sensitivity rate, Mr Burt said its performance depended on whether the IgM or IgG antibodies were being tested for.

The two represent common immune system antibodies that signal the body fighting off the coronavirus infection.

He said the test was 87.9 per cent effective for IgM, and 97.2 per cent effective for IgG, with a specificity of 100 per cent.

Mr Burt said more of the tests had been ordered after an initial 25 because it had worked well, although the antibody test is not for diagnosis.

He added: “These tests can certainly be used for understanding the epidemiological impact of a particular virus on a society.”

Mr Dunkley asked about $2.8 million of increased emergency funding mentioned at the previous sitting of the House by Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance.

The One Bermuda Alliance MP queried how much of that had gone to the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

Mr Dickinson told the House that $1.75 million had been allocated to BHB, and Kim Wilson, the health minister, said that had come about as BHB helped to procure medical supplies for the island.

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Published May 24, 2020 at 3:00 pm (Updated May 24, 2020 at 3:00 pm)

House: Burt names antibody tests firm

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