A new automated, mobile white blood cell differential test could identify meat processing plant workers likely to test positive for COVID-19.

“I imagine many of you remember all too well the pain of trying to keep operations and processing lines staffed as employees either tested positive or were too concerned about COVID-19 to show up for work.” Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO, Advanced Animal Diagnostics, said during the Virtual Poultry Tech Summit 2020.

“Flu season is upon us and we’re gearing up for what could be a bleak winter.”

Earlier this year, numerous meat and poultry processing facilities were forced to slow or even stop operations to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic after outbreaks in workers occurred.

How the test works

The COVID-19 test is designed to provide early, immediate, inexpensive and on-target results in less than two minutes using a finger stick. It can track employee results confidentially by scanning an employee badge or entering an ID number.

“COVID-19 affects one of your white blood cell types known as lymphocytes. It kills lymphocytes and as their numbers decrease, it causes a state called lymphopenia,” said Dratch.

“The test identifies each of the white blood cell types in our blood because each one has a different role in the immune system.”

Advertisement

Unlike standard PCR or antigen tests, this approach gives quicker results because it measures the innate immune response instead of viral load.

“When you’re getting a PCR test, it’s testing for viral load. Antigen tests do the same thing. That’s why people have to wait so long to be tested. They have to wait for the viral load to develop,” Dratch explained.

This new test “works on the innate immune response so it’s an earlier test,” she added.                

Attend the 2021 Poultry Tech Summit

Join an exclusive international gathering of industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the 2021 edition of Poultry Tech Summit on October 31 - November 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees can expect the same groundbreaking innovation and insightful presentations that made the previous events well-attended with deep dialogue on new prospective solutions and developing technologies.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Like what you just read? Sign up now for free to receive the Poultry Future Newsletter.