Dr. Fauci says coronavirus antibody tests are ‘days or weeks away’

Dr. Fauci says coronavirus antibody tests are ‘days or weeks away’ and will allow Americans to get back to work if they can prove they’ve had COVID-19 and recovered from it

  • Dr Fauci said on Thursday morning private companies had told him the tests were not far off
  • They will allow people to get back to work by ruling them out as being at risk
  • Cuomo has also touted the tests as being crucial to New York’s recovery 
  • It remains unclear where and when the antibody tests will become available 
  • Fauci said that the virus will persist and that warm weather will not necessarily wipe it out, as people believe it might 
  • He has agreed with new data that found it arrived in America from Italy in February, before Europe had even been identified as a concern 

By JENNIFER SMITH 

(dailymail)—–Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, has said antibody tests that will determine if a person has had the virus and recovered it will become available on a mass scale in a matter of ‘days or weeks’.

Fauci, appearing on Today on NBC on Thursday, said the tests were being developed by private companies that the government had partnered with.

They will be crucial to restarting the economy and may even become a requirement for some people before they can get back to work.

The test will identify if a person has antibodies in their blood which suggests they have successfully recovered from COVID-19 without ever knowing they had it.

Dr Anthony Fauci on the Today show on Thursday talking about antibody tests he says will be widely available ‘very soon’

The other method of testing is a swab test to determine if a person currently has COVID-19It means they are likely immune to the virus and are not contagious which could clear them for work.

‘We are told by the companies that make [the tests] that [it will be] very soon… they’re talking days to weeks, that we’d be able to have a large number of these tests available.

‘They don’t tell you if you’re infected, they tell you if you have been infected. That answer is very important.

‘There may be many people out there that were infected and asymptomatic and didn’t know it.

‘It is likely, but we need to prove it, once you’ve been infected… that you are very likely protected against subsequent challenges to the same virus, which means you may have a cohort of people who are actually protected,’ he said.

How and where the tests will become available to the general public remains unclear.

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In New York – by far the worst hit state in the country – the state department of health has approved its own antibody test that it is now trying to bring to a mass scale.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week it would be crucial to restarting the local economy.

It is unclear where and when those tests will become available but he is also asking private companies to partner with the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to bring them to mass market.

Dr. Fauci also said New York City – the epicenter of the crisis – was the first hit because so many cases arrived from northern Italy, likely months ago, before the US even knew it was a threat.

The country had focused its attention on China, where the virus originated, and Trump closed the border to all flights from there early but the virus had already spread to Europe and exploded there.

‘Europe became the epicenter pretty quickly after China and it really exploded with their cases.

‘We cut off travel from China early and we were seeded with relatively few cases from China but quickly, it switched to Europe, particularly northern Italy, given the air traffic from there.

‘It’s just not surprising that New York was seeded before they really knew what was going on and that’s why they’re in the very unfortunate situation they’re in now,’ he said.

New York has now seen more than 6,000 deaths across the state, including at least 4,000 in New York City.

The death toll is expected to keep rising as people who entered the hospital 10 days or several weeks ago fail to recover or come off ventilators, but the rate of hospitalization and ICU admissions is decreasing which suggests the peak has arrived.

‘It’s tough to tell. We very well may be there. It’s looking like it’s going to make a turn, but you know, I am cautiously optimistic. I think that is what’s going on,’ Fauci said.

Later, he told Today: ‘The number of deaths and the cases that we’re seeing right now are really validating what we said that this was going to be a very bad week…

‘On the other hand, there are some glimmers of hope particularly when you look at the situation in New York.

‘So even though we’re seeing that increase in deaths… but what feeds that is the number of new cases. Mitigation is starting to have an effect.

‘I think that is the case. You want to see several steady days. I’m always very cautious of jumping the gun but I think we’re really looking at the beginning of that.’

A map based on genome sequences shows have different strains of coronavirus have spread around the world, with at least eight strains being tracked

He added that on a national scale, the data is showing that fewer people than projected are dying from the virus.

The White House initially warned that as many as 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus, based on projections.

That number has since reduced to 100,000 and is now sitting at around 60,000.

The decrease is ‘good news’, Fauci said, and is down to the fact that the projections are based on assumptions which are near impossible to get right.

‘You get models to try to help you project such as the need for beds, ventilators.. but the models are only as good as the assumptions you put into the model.

‘One of the assumptions was the efficacy of the mitigation that New York is doing intensely.

‘The data always trumps the model so you take the data and refashion the model,’ he said.

He added: ‘What we need to do is make sure we don’t let up on the physical separation programs.

‘We got to make sure we keep our foot on the accelerator.’

Dr. Fauci said he ‘hopes’ April 30 will be the date the country can start to look at ‘gradually’ getting back to normal but that it depends on the data. ‘

‘We hope when we get to the extended 30 days, I do hope by the time we get there, we will see the curve in that bending, which we’ve been talking about now.

‘You should not assume that the virus will diminish because of the coming of warm weather,’ he went on, adding: ‘One should not assume that we’ll be rescued by a change in the weather.’

Even when society resumes, Fauci said people should still be vigilant about touching one another – specifically shaking hands.

‘I think at least for a while, I think we should refrain from that right now, we need to concentrate on the physical separation,’ he said.