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University of Arizona to provide COVID-19 antibody tests to health care workers and first responders

Coronavirus testing
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 19:00:16-04

TUCSON, AZ — The University of Arizona today announced Tuesday it will provide antibody testing for the state of Arizona.

Earlier this month, UArizona President Robert C. Robbins announced his intent to provide antibody tests to all 45,000 UArizona students and 15,000 faculty and staff. The student and faculty tests will be funded through private donations, Robbins said.

With $3.5 million in funding from the state, the university says it start producing 250,000 blood tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies for the Arizona's front-line workforce.

Officials say the tests will help determine how many people have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and have successfully built an immunity against it.

Experts say as many as 50% of people who have been exposed to coronavirus have experienced few to no symptoms of the disease.

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"Determining whether a significant percentage of individuals have COVID-19 antibodies is critical to returning to regular social interaction," said Dr. Michael D. Dake, senior vice president for UArizona Health Sciences, who is overseeing production of the tests.

"Through what we hope would eventually be a comprehensive testing program, the university and local health care facilities could begin working toward reestablishing fully operational learning and working environments," said Dake.