April 21 (UPI) — New York began accumulating blood samples Monday from 3,000 randomly chosen folks for antibody testing as half of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outcomes might present a extra correct evaluation of what number of have been contaminated with the brand new coronavirus, however might additionally function a platform for analysis into potential remedies.

There may be, nonetheless, some concern in regards to the accuracy of the tests, and questions as to whether or not sufficient hospitals and clinics can have entry to the supplies — and use them correctly.

Richard Serino, distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being’s Nationwide Preparedness Management Initiative and a deputy minister on the Federal Emergency Administration Company below President Barack Obama, cautioned in opposition to considering that these early antibody testing efforts will lead to a “re-opening” of the U.S. financial system anytime quickly in a convention name with reporters on Monday.

“Coaching medical doctors and nurses on how to use these tests and the way to interpret the outcomes goes to be key,” he mentioned. Whether or not or not public hospitals and testing labs — many of which function below extreme funds constraints — can afford the tests and the prices related to processing samples “can be a difficulty,” he added.

On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the state’s plan to take a look at a pattern of New Yorkers for the presence of antibodies produced by folks contaminated with COVID-19. Chosen contributors began receiving the take a look at kits from the state’s Division of Well being on Monday.

“This would be the first true snapshot of precisely how many individuals had been contaminated by COVID-19 (and) will assist us to reopen and rebuild with out jeopardizing what we have already completed,” the governor mentioned in an announcement.

New York Metropolis has been the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with greater than 250,000 confirmed circumstances of COVID-19, and greater than 14,000 deaths, in accordance to Johns Hopkins College.

The testing plan follows the same mannequin utilized in Germany, in accordance to Cuomo. The nation, which has a inhabitants of greater than 80 million — roughly 4 occasions that of New York state — used the identical pattern measurement for its antibody testing survey, he mentioned.

Final week, President Donald Trump really helpful that states use the antibody tests as they begin enjoyable social distancing measures carried out to fight the pandemic. Nonetheless, public well being consultants have recommended extra nonetheless wants to be realized in regards to the tests — and the virus — earlier than they are often relied upon as a gauge of immunity.

“No person is bound whether or not somebody with antibodies is absolutely protected in opposition to having the illness or being uncovered once more,” Dr. Mike Ryan, government director of World Well being Group’s emergencies program, informed reporters final week. “Plus some of the tests have points with sensitivity (and) they could give a false destructive end result.”

Usually, the immune system creates antibodies because it efficiently fights an infection. Individuals with antibodies of their blood have a decrease threat for re-infection — though whether or not that holds true with the brand new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, stays to be seen.

As with every virus, researchers have developed a take a look at for antibodies, utilizing genetic data from the virus itself. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration has given fast-tract approval to a number of SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests in current weeks, some of which merchandise promise leads to 15 minutes or much less.

Accuracy might be a difficulty with the tests. Early evaluations of one platform revealed final week in An infection Ecology and Epidemiology discovered that it was lower than 70 p.c correct at figuring out one class of antibodies.

It has additionally been recommended that blood plasma donated by individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 might be used as a remedy for the virus for these with extra severe sickness. New York is already the positioning of a scientific trial of this method.

Nonetheless, steerage from the WHO, launched Friday, indicated that testing optimistic for coronavirus antibodies doesn’t essentially imply an individual has immunity.

Cuomo additionally informed the media Monday {that a} group of hospitals from throughout the state might be submitting the outcomes of their scientific trials of hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malaria drug touted as a doable remedy for COVID-19 — to federal well being officers over the subsequent day or so. Cuomo declined to supply particulars on the outcomes of the trials.

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