In California, several thousands of residents have been tested for antibodies against coronavirus. Scientists are currently waiting for the results of these privately funded endeavors to strengthen the community against the ongoing pandemic.
Stanford headed a study that has already finished testing at least 3,200 people for antibodies against the virus. Premier Biotech developed the finger-prick tests that were utilized for the project.
The country health department of Los Angeles will initiate a pilot testing program this coming Friday to test hundreds of people randomly to determine who has the antibodies.
United Biomedical executives are supplying the resources needed to test all the residents of San Miguel County in Colorado.
The project itself
There have already been 8,000 tests administered, but the company's laboratories have their hands full with the processing of the results done. A total of 986 results have finished the process, eight of which were found to have the antibodies in their system.
The tests taken were not yet approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but due to the existence of the crisis, they have been allowed to operate under relaxed guidelines.
Twenty-three of the remaining residents were dubbed 'indeterminate,' and the rest were found to be negative. This speaks to the inaccuracy of the results revealing the tests are not full proof.
Only one of the tests is approved by the CDC --- Celex, and it is expected to be available within 10-14 days.
On Thursday, Dr. Fauci shared he was advised that the availability of the kits would take 'weeks or days' The CDC did not reveal why only one test was approved.
New York, despite having the worst overall statistics of the infection, has not produced its antibody tests. The State Department of Health took upon itself to roll out its antibody tests to provide its residents. Governor Andrew Cuomo stated they are now working to ensure the tests are brought out to everyone in the area.
Officials say it is possible to administer 300 tests per day, increasing to 1,000 per day next week, and up to 2,000 per day the week after. Authorities explained the delay was a result of the incapacity of private companies to scale up quickly enough.
Leaders around the world are hoping the tests would bring about a change in the course of the pandemic, but there has been no effective one yet.
In Europe, several thousands of tests were discovered to be ineffective; this includes Spain, where it was found it was only 30% accurate. The reason for this is believed to be due to the insensitivity of the tests in detecting the antibodies.
Very little is known with the deadly COVID-19, such as the duration of immunity or if having contracted the virus beforehand and recovering could still lead to a second infection.
What can we expect?
Stanford scientist Dr. Eran Bendavid is leading the process in California, said he is hopeful the administered tests will answer some of the unknowns. He expressed his belief in the importance of the study and its implications on moving forward with how we understand the pandemic.
He says the most crucial piece of information is the number of infected people in the country.
A total of 3,200 volunteers from Santa Clara County were tested last week are now eagerly waiting for their results.
The locations for the tests were held at three sites; a church and two parks. Several volunteers, both from the clinical and non-clinical fields, handled the facilities and equipment.
The volunteers were notified of the project through Facebook ads, which led to a surge of participants that doubled every few minutes. Dr. Bendavid told Stanford Daily the number was growing in real-time, which led the team to panic and called off the registration so they may re-evaluate the process.
The volunteers were given a supplementary gift in the form of a $10 Amazon gift card. If the results were fruitful, the ones who were found to have antibodies would later be contacted within the week.
Premier Biotech posted on its website that the results will be available after 10 minutes of executing the tests and are viable up until 20 minutes afterward.