Despite the COVID-19 pandemic still being in full swing around the world, thoughts for many are turning to how life will change in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. Even as some U.S. states begin to rescind stay-at-home orders thoughts are turning to the need for an immunity passport that could be obtained following an antibody test. Attention will soon shift to Spain where the abruptly interrupted soccer season will start to return with daily coronavirus testing accompanied by players, coaches, and officials living in isolation from their families, according to The Guardian.
One way the immunity pass could work is by using the fast-tracked antibody test that has been given the green light by the Centers for Disease Control after only a small amount of research. The majority of those who are calling for so-called health passports to be brought into use believe it could be an easy way to bring struggling communities back to work faster than had previously been anticipated. A health passport would be effective if an individual has been tested for antibodies and the active presence of COVID-19 from a rapid testing procedure.
The question that is being asked by many people is how will an immunity passport work make sure the economy gets moving once more. The idea behind the passport would be that every individual would have to be tested for antibodies before they would be able to return to certain forms of work, travel, or attend public gatherings. This could be the start of a new era in public health research where a range of testing procedures come together to provide a complete overview of the health of the individual based on the tests they have had performed.
The basis of the introduction of any immunity passport will be the ability of the carrier to have their health proven based on a scientific basis. More research is needed in the area of whether exposure to the COVID-19 virus provides immunity to the virus, similar to the way the SARS virus died out due to so-called herd exposure in China in 2003. The current thinking behind treatments and the immunity pass based on COVID-19 states the virus can only be caught once with antibodies lingering in the body to provide immunity from re-exposure.
If an immunity passport is to be successful, the introduction of a range of tests that are standardized across the planet would be the way forward. The possibility of false negatives and positives should be reduced to almost nil to avoid the issue of further waves of the coronavirus moving across the planet. The first test to be issued would be a blood test to check for the presence of the antibodies associated with COVID-19 to check the individual has been exposed to the virus.
For a health passport to be issued, every person issued with a document must be no longer infected with the coronavirus. A traditional COVID-19 test would then be completed to make certain of the health of the individual before they can be provided with an immunity passport.
There are many reasons why the majority of government and business leaders are pushing hard for an immunity passport to be made available, including the need to create a better economy based on the health of workers. For frontline healthcare workers, the immunity passport could be a lifesaving document that allows those who are immune to the virus to take on what would be the most dangerous roles in intensive care units. By discovering the state of exposure for every worker in the most important industries there could be many lives saved among critical workers.
As part of the drive towards improving the possibilities of enacting an immunity passport, many experts have been calling for the introduction of faster, more accurate testing procedures. Among the groups that have been moving towards improving the testing procedures seen around the world is Emirates Airlines, which has been using a rapid COVID-19 test to try and maintain its flights around the world. The airline introduced the rapid test to try and ensure it was not responsible for the spread of the virus through its flights to Tunisia and beyond.
Another option that is being explored by those involved in the development of health passports is the use of new technologies designed to track the movement of Coronavirus. The U.K. government is in the process of introducing an app similar to those already introduced in Spain and Italy that would allow individuals to track their risk of exposure using the location data on their phones. The more data that is made available to the developers of immunity passports, the greater the chance that any further waves of the pandemic will be limited.
The introduction of an immunity pass would play a role in allowing the leisure activities we all know and love to be undertaken once more. In Spain, the top professional soccer league is looking to start paying again in June 2020 with daily testing for all those involved and the need to isolate away from friends and families. The introduction of the passport would allow those involved in sports leagues and other community-based events to return to work and save a large number of traditional COVID-19 testing kits for those who have yet to establish their exposure level.
In general, the idea behind the introduction of health passports is seen as a good idea because many people would be able to return to their everyday lives faster than waiting for the pandemic to come to a close. By allowing those who are needed to extend the fight against the virus to return to work earlier the chances of success in saving lives will be increased.