Ohio hopes to begin coronavirus antibody testing


By Mary Kilpatrick - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)



CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio may soon have a better understanding of exactly how widespread the coronavirus is, as the state hopes to begin testing for antibodies next week, an Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman said Friday.

Antibody testing could show how many people had COVID-19 without developing symptoms —potentially giving health officials and doctors a much better understanding of the virus’ spread.

The test checks for antibodies the body produces to fight off COVID-19. It’s a blood test instead of a swab, with typically faster results.

The blood is dropped on a plate with part of the virus on it called a protein. Scientists watch to see if antibodies in the blood fight the virus.

The state will pick 1,200 households randomly from across the state. These Ohioans will receive a postcard, followed by a letter notifying them of their selection, and when to expect a team of ODH workers to visit their home. During the visit, one adult will be randomly picked for testing.

Participation is voluntary. Anyone who is picked can opt out of testing by phone or email beforehand, or turn away ODH workers in person.

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By Mary Kilpatrick

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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