MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - It’s a critical step to understanding the spread of COVID-19. And Governor DeSantis says it’s now available in South Florida.
“Basically, people that have had the disease, their body will generate antibodies to fight it, and then we can test to see if you have the antibodies,” he said.
200,000 antibody tests are heading to Florida, and the first to take the tests will be those on the front lines in South Florida.
“The health care workers and the first responders, because they’re the most likely to have been exposed.”
USF Health’s Dr. Michael Teng says there are about 100 different companies with tests, but not all of them are good quality. He says roughly 12 companies have FDA-approved antibody tests.
“So there are a lot of antibody tests that may tell you that you've been exposed but they may be wrong,” Dr. Teng said.
And the unknowns go further.
“We do know, with the test, that you’ve been exposed to the virus and you’ve mounted an immune response,” Dr. Teng said.
“What we don’t know is how long that immune response lasts, and for everybody getting the test, we don’t know how good that antibody is at blocking the virus from infecting.”
The governor says the tests being brought to Florida will have results within 15 minutes, and he says the Health Department has been working with One Blood.
“As people donate blood, to try to determine how much antibodies are in the people that are donating blood. That’s a way to get a pretty powerful snapshot of data of how widespread antibodies are throughout the state of Florida.”
This comes as health experts attempt to confirm whether those who have contracted the virus will be immune going forward.
Right now, the only antibody testing site is in South Florida at Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock Stadium. There’s no word yet on when they will expand statewide.
You can watch the Florida governor's full press conference below:
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The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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