Campden BRI expert insight: How Gloucestershire businesses can minimise the impact of Covid-19 when reopening

Campden BRI’s reputation as a master of testing, analysis and the application of science across the food, drink and many other sectors is world-renowned, skills it is now also using to help keep businesses open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As businesses battle to stay open and many more look to re-open, the challenge of how they do that while the nation comes to terms with living with Covid-19 is enormous.

What many are seeking is a trusted business putting its name to a proven scientific method for testing their staff and their work environments that gives everyone – not least their customers – confidence they are in control.

Which is where Cotswold-based consulting and research experts Campden BRI and its staff of scientists and experts comes to the rescue, with its Workforce Testing Programme


About the expert: Martin D’Agostino, Virologist at Campden BRI

Martin D’Agostino

With more than 20 years’ experience in virology, Martin D’Agostino is the senior virologist at Campden BRI. He has played a vital part in developing a suite of Covid services to help businesses of all sizes create Covid-secure environments.

Usually, Mr D’Agostino and the rest of the team at Campden BRI help food and drink businesses succeed through the application of science, technology, and analytical and legislative services – but they are currently playing a major part in Covid testing in the workplace and providing other Covid-related services.

Mr D’Agostino has become one of the food and drink industry’s ‘go-to people’ for coronavirus-related questions and continues to cater for their needs by applying his extensive experience.

What is Campden BRI, who works for it and what kind of reputation has it build for itself in its 100 years in business?

Founded in 1919, we are the largest membership-based food consulting and research organisation in the world predominantly helping food and drink businesses succeed through science and technology.

With more than 2,400 members from around 80 countries, industry-leading facilities and highly experienced experts, we’re world-renowned as a centre of scientific excellence.

Recently, we have been applying our considerable expertise to help businesses achieve Covid-secure environments, test their staff and premises, and give everyone, including their customers, the confidence they need to carry on.

It comes as part of our suite of Covid services which includes our Workforce Testing Programme.

What challenges do local businesses face when reopening at the tail end of the pandemic when Covid-19 is still prevalent?

Many local businesses are feeling excited to reopen after such a long hiatus. The anticipation of regaining financial security while returning to some sort of normality is a welcoming prospect compared to what has been endured during the rollercoaster of the past year.

Yet there is also a hesitancy with the fear of how Covid-19 may continue to impact their business.

Local business owners are asking themselves whether they will be able to stay open. Some are wondering how they are going to protect their staff and reassure their customers and clients.

The main challenge for them is preventing Covid-19 cases within their facility which could otherwise cause a loss of staff (due to them having to self-isolate) and subsequent loss of business continuity.

Even if their business can remain operational, such an incident may make customers and clients feel less confident when entering their site, which could further impact their business financially.

As the nation starts to move out of lockdown, how can businesses reassure their customers and clients, and protect their staff from Covid-19?

Regularly testing their staff for Covid-19 and creating Covid-secure environments is ultimately the most effective way that businesses can reassure customers and clients and protect their staff. But this is not always easy in practice.

Understandably, they want to catch positive cases early so that they can isolate staff as soon as possible, preventing further spread and lessening the impact on their business, but this is a challenge if their staff are not showing symptoms.

With our Workforce Testing Programme, our team at Campden BRI can relieve some of their Covid-19 worries by having staff regularly tested for the disease. Naturally, this will not only help to reassure clients and customers but will also reassure their staff that they’re taking the best possible care of them by identifying positive cases early.

In the event of recording positive test results, our Virology team can help businesses take prompt remedial action to minimise the risks and potential impact on the smooth running of their business.

As a business, we’ve been routinely providing our own staff with PCR Covid-19 testing and, as a result, caught a positive case early allowing us to prevent further spread across our company. This service also extends to Fit to Fly testing that can provide a travel certificate.

How can local businesses benefit from having an organisation like Campden BRI on their doorstep?

We are based in Chipping Campden, so businesses from the surrounding area who use our services can rest assured that they’re getting the most advanced Covid-19 testing from experts, including our Virology Team, at a highly reputable, long-standing organisation that’s local to them.

Another benefit for those near Chipping Campden who require Covid-19 testing is our safe, quick and Covid-secure drop off and pick up option for testing kits which means quicker turnarounds without the need for a courier.

This is a huge advantage for those in need of a Fit to Fly certificate with little time before their flight. For those slightly further afield, there’s the option of having the test (or tests) conveniently delivered to their door, meaning all they have to do is take the test, send it back and wait for their results.

As much as we have embraced online working, many business people still need to travel. Can Campden BRI help with this too?

It is currently possible to fly for business purposes where it is not reasonably possible to work or provide a service at home. With this in mind, our team can provide Fit to Fly testing and certificates to allow businesspeople to prove they do not have Covid-19 so they can safely take a flight.

Again, a pick up and/or drop off option is possible to cut out the need for a courier to ensure faster turnaround times.

Fears of Covid-19 also extend to whether the virus is present in the workplace itself – not just being carried by individuals. Can Campden BRI offer a way of testing the physical environment to ensure they are safe too?

Our expert microbiologists have developed two methods to help businesses control transmission of Covid-19 from both surfaces and the air. These methods tackle the most likely routes that an individual may contract the disease in the workplace.

Our surface swab testing provides businesses an early warning that Covid-19 is present in their workplace. The swabs can be used on any surface with a focus on high touch points where the risk is greatest – door handles being a prime example. A negative swab result reassures businesses that the areas checked are being cleaned correctly to remove the virus that causes Covid-19.

However, if the swab test yields a positive result, this confirms that the infectious virus was on the surface sampled indicating that someone with Covid-19 was in that area. As a result, we can help put mitigation strategies in place to prevent further impact on the business.

Having an air cleaning system in place is another way that businesses are attempting to protect staff, clients and customers by removing and inactivating SARS-CoV-2. It’s important to have these systems validated to ensure they are in fact helping create a Covid-secure environment.

With our purpose-built aerobiology laboratory capable of representing an array of conditions, our experienced microbiologists have developed a new test procedure to validate air cleaning systems on a scale not replicated elsewhere in the UK.

For those interested in minimising the risk of Covid-19 in their business, all of the Covid services mentioned above can be found here.

© SoGlos
Monday 22 March 2021

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