USA has started COVID-19 antibody testing

We don't know how many asymptomatic cases are out there, researchers says. If you want to find out if you are possibly immune to the coronavirus, an antibody test may give you an answer. Researchers in California have a finger prick test that will draw a blood sample and check the antibodies to determine if a person had COVID-19 and are now immune.

Health officials say it could be a game-changer in the fight against the virus, and it's now being done in multiple locations in California. COVID-19 antibody testing could also help to determine how widespread the coronavirus is in the location. Officials said this could help determine when the area can safely reopen. 

Pre-selected participants, who were selected based on a random sample, will be checked for immunity against the virus.
The study's goal is to determine the likely number of people in the county who already contracted coronavirus. Knowing this critical information will reveal a more accurate picture of how widely the virus has spread in the population, the mortality rate and potential immunity.

There are currently two different types of tests for COVID-19

1. One is a swab test -- also known as the PCR test, which saw a shortage due to the high demand. There is currently a 14,000 swab test backlog at California labs.

2. The other is a blood test. It's called a serologic test, for blood serum, and it will be a key in someday allowing an end to stay-at-home orders.

Public health experts hope that mass screening with antibody tests could eventually help track how the virus spreads and who might have built up immunity. 

The FDA is permitting companies to launch certain types of finger-prick tests that can detect whether people may have recently been infected. 

"I think this (study) has very important implications for how we understand the epidemic, for how we move it forward," Stanford's Dr. Eran Bendavid told ABC News' Diane Sawyer. "From our survey really the most important piece of information is, how many people in our country have been infected?"

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