The University of Arizona is expanding its analysis of blood samples to include hundreds of thousands of Arizonans statewide to determine who has developed antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19. The state of Arizona is providing $3.5 million for the testing to increase throughout Arizona.
In addition to testing sites in Pima County, where the first phase of the initiative began on April 30, new sites will begin opening the week of May 18 in the other 14 counties in Arizona. Overall, there will be 31 antibody testing sites across the state, with additional sites becoming available as needed. The specific testing site for each participant will be selected during the registration process.
Registration for health care workers and first responders across the state is now available at covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu, where participants also can find the most current information on the antibody testing initiative, including the type of test and the qualifications for registering.
An antibody is a protein made by immune cells that attaches to viruses, bacteria and fungi. Most people who are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 make antibodies within a few weeks of infection. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies means the immune system mounted a response against the virus.
Experts do not yet know the amounts of antibodies that are required to fully prevent subsequent infections, but expect there might be some level of protection. However, because experts still do not know enough about this virus, protection should not be assumed.