Re: Violations of health workers’ rights during pandemic
Some health workers’ rights can be violated during pandemic  e.g. the principle of informed consent to invasive procedures. Medical personnel in Russia must undergo regular (once in 7-10 days) SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests using venous blood. Repeated intravenous manipulations are associated with risks and discomfort especially for patients with narrow, collapsed veins. If the antibody test is positive, both nasal and pharyngeal swabs are taken for the PCR-based assay, also from known convalescents and persons with the positive viral tests in the past who thereafter have tested negatively twice.
The smears may be taken with urogenital swabs using excessive force. Mucosal damage might predispose to infections. Nasal swabs are taken also from persons with atrophic rhinitis, a history of nasal bleedings, septum ulcerations etc. An inquiry directed to the health care authority was replied with a reference to the instructive Letter Nr. 02-706-2020-27 of 21 January 2020 issued by the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) that swabs from the nasal cavity and nasopharynx are obligatory. Indeed, there are no specific contraindications for collecting specimens with nasopharyngeal swabs. However, clinicians should be cautious if the patient has had recent nasal trauma or surgery, has a markedly deviated nasal septum, a history of chronically blocked nasal passages or severe coagulopathy . When collection of a nasopharyngeal swab is not possible, the following are acceptable alternatives: an oropharyngeal specimen, a nasal mid-turbinate specimen (using a flocked tapered swab), an anterior nares specimen (using a flocked or spun polyester swab), a nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate specimen .
Serologic antibody tests can reveal those individuals who were infected and didn’t know it. However, for known convalescents and those who tested positively for SARS-CoV-2 but have become negative, the repeated serological tests seem to be useless. If a person is serologically found immune, it is unlikely that he or she would get reinfected . In fact, the antibody testing can be used to return people with immunity to the workforce or keep them there, starting with health care professionals. “A positive antibody test could be a sort of get-out-of-isolation card” . Admittedly, there is not enough evidence to conclude that the detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies can be linked to the end of the viral infectivity . More details are in .
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Competing interests: No competing interests