Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States government’s top infectious disease expert, has said that a large number of antibody tests are just “days away.”
In an interview with CNN, Fauci said, “At the last task force meeting, the individuals responsible for both developing, validating and getting the test out” would be able to do so “within a period of a week or so.”
In order for the tests to be released to the public, officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) need to ensure that the tests have been validated, meaning that they’ll be “consistent” and “accurate.”
However, Fauci also stressed that the antibody tests in no way replace the tests to verify whether an individual has contracted COVID-19. Instead, the antibody tests work “in parallel” to inform an individual of whether they were once infected.
Fauci added, “As we look forward and even consider opening up the country, it’s important to appreciate and understand how much the virus has penetrated the society.”
Fauci went on to explain that there was a strong likelihood that many have been infected but were asymptomatic, as a result never knowing that they had the virus.
With these antibody results, an individual can then “formulate strategies” as to whether they would be at “risk” or “vulnerable” of re-contracting COVID-19. Notably, this comes during a period when coronavirus reinfection cases are appearing around the world.
In South Korea, 51 people tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, leaving officials to deliberate whether they had fully recovered from their first bout with the virus or whether they had, in fact, gotten re-infected.
Behind closed doors, the Trump Administration, concerned over the largely closed economy, has been pushing to reopen the country by the beginning of May.
At a coronavirus task force meeting on April 10, Trump stated that the decision to reopen the economy would be the “biggest decision of my life.”
Worldwide, the number of reported deaths attributed to COVID-19 hit 1.7 million with the US on track to overtake Italy as the country with the highest death toll.
However, there are many who remain skeptical of the official numbers, claiming that government cover-ups in countries like China and a widespread lack of testing, particularly in the United States, means that the actual number of cases is likely far, far higher.