Moscow to launch free coronavirus immunity testing on 15 May

Moscow to launch free coronavirus immunity testing on 15 May
Photo: mos.ru. Evgeny Samarin
Every few days, about 70,000 Muscovites selected at random will be invited to undergo testing.

Mass testing for coronavirus immunity will begin in Moscow on 15 May. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) blood testing will be available in 30 outpatient clinics. These tests will help obtain the most complete and reliable information about the real incidence and spread of the coronavirus in Moscow.

In each of the 30 outpatient clinics, two treatment rooms will be opened.

“The ELISA testing for the population to be launched in Moscow is unprecedented in its scale. For its implementation, we will marshal the enormous capacities of the city’s healthcare system. But the expected results are worth the effort,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his blog.

Citizens will be selected randomly based on the age structure of the population and area of residence.

Why is testing important?

Public testing will help detect coronavirus primarily in asymptomatic cases. It will also provide current information on the formation of herd immunity – the proportion of the population that has already developed immunity. This will help predict the course of the pandemic and make decisions on lifting or maintaining restrictions.

The ELISA test detects the presence of IgM antibodies (coronavirus marker) and IgG antibodies (coronavirus immunity marker) in a patient’s blood.

How will results be provided?

Automatic blood analysers have been installed to test for coronavirus antibodies. By the end of May, it will be possible to do over 200,000 tests per day in Moscow. The results will be summarised every week, both for the city as a whole and for individual areas. This will make it possible to map the spread of the virus. Based on these data, decisions will be made to maintain or relax restrictions in the city. Testing results will be published on mos.ru.

About 70,000 Muscovites will be invited to undergo testing every few days by e-mail or SMS. To register online to be tested, follow the link provided in the invitation. Work is being done so that ELISA test results can be rapidly uploaded to a patient’s electronic medical records, and this feature should be available in the near future.

Coronavirus: Official information