Virginia Dept. of Health launches antibody testing program statewide

'There are limitations to antibody testing for COVID-19 right now, but they do have value’

ROANOKE, Va. – A new, statewide antibody testing program could help show how widespread the coronavirus (COVID-19) is throughout Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health announced on Wednesday that it’s launching the Virginia Coronavirus Serology Project, in which employees will test 5,000 adults within each of the state’s five health planning regions.

The testing could help public health officials know how many people contracted COVID-19 without showing symptoms and could identify plasma donors to treat current patients.

However, there are limitations. About 16-20% of the antibody test results could come back as false positives and it will take a while to determine how long the antibodies stay in our systems.

“We don’t have the evidence that the antibodies we are testing protect against re-infection,” said Dr. David Trump, a public health physician specialist with VDH’s Office of Epidemiology.

The project won’t start until later in June or July. VDH hopes to expand testing to include other populations, including children and youth.

For more information on the program, click here.

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