Fauci: Antibody tests expected next week in US

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appears at a news conference about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. infectious disease official says coronavirus antibody tests are just days away.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says at the last White House coronavirus task force meeting, the people responsible for developing, validating and disseminating the tests were saying “a rather large number of tests” will be available within a week.

Fauci told CNN on Friday he’s ”certain that that’s going to happen.”

An antibody test could show whether a person was recently exposed to the coronavirus. Fauci says the test would say “that you were infected and if you’re feeling well you very likely recovered.”

Fauci says medical experts could then try to determine how deeply the virus “has penetrated the society” and whether previously infected people would be vulnerable to reinfection, which is particularly “important for health care workers.”

Fauci says testing for an antibody doesn’t mean medical experts are shifting away from testing for the virus to see who’s infected. He says, “those things are done in parallel.”

N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) and other members of the N.C. General Assembly have advocated for random sample testing to scientifically estimate how many people in the population at large have COVID-19 and the true fatality rate. Berger this week released a statement highlighting other areas that have already begun this type of testing.

A spokeswoman with the N.C. Dept. of Health of Human Services told North State Journal when asked previously that this type of testing was not under consideration and that the state would continue to use a statewide surveillance system including phone and online surveys to measure symptoms of COVID-19. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.