Health officials to conduct random antibody testing in Atlanta area


CAPTION ADDITION ADDS PRODUCT”S USE: An employee holds up an antibody test cartridge of AFIAS COVID-19 Ab testing kit used in diagnosing the coronavirus for a photograph on a production line of the Boditech Med Inc. in Chuncheon, South Korea, Friday, April 17, 2020. Boditech Med recently started exporting its antibody-based virus test kits to various countries. The product shown is fluorescence Immunoassay that can be used in general antibody tests but not in rapid tests.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

ATLANTA (WSAV) – Georgia public health professionals will perform random antibody testing in the Atlanta area this week to get a better understanding of how many people may have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Officials say the antibody test can help identify people who were infected but didn’t have symptoms or weren’t tested for COVID-19.

The antibody testing survey will be conducted in Fulton and DeKalb counties from Tuesday, April 28 to Monday, May 4. Residents will be surveyed and asked to provide a blood sample to be tested for antibodies.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the Fulton and DeKalb County Boards of Health, will be conducting testing.

Teams will be identifiable by their CDC vests and CDC badges. They will also have an official letter from the CDC and DPH.

Officials say Fulton and DeKalb counties were chosen because community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring there. The homes chosen in each area will be randomly selected.

Participation in the testing is voluntary, but health officials say it will provide information to help guide the response to the pandemic.

“We encourage everyone who is visited by the teams to participate in this very important survey that can help public health officials assess how widespread COVID-19 is in certain areas,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “This is another way that Georgians can play a role in helping fight this virus.”

DPH says antibody tests, or serology tests, can’t determine if someone has an active COVID-19 infection when the sample is taken. The antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 typically take one to three weeks to develop.

To learn more about testing, visit the CDC’s website here.

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