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UArizona, state partnership to provide 250K coronavirus antibody tests

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday announced the state has partnered with the University of Arizona to provide 250,000 COVID-19 antibody tests for health care professionals and first responders fighting the virus.

The hope is the tests will help provide a better road map of who has been affected by the coronavirus and to help better shield citizens from further exposure.

The university will issue the testing, which will check for antibodies through a a blood sample to determine if an individual was exposed to COVID-19, had the virus and recovered.

“Antibody testing is not a cure-all, but learning more about it is an important step to identifying community exposure, helping us make decisions about how we protect our citizens, and getting us to the other side of this pandemic more quickly,” Ducey said in a press release.

“Our health care workers and first responders are on the front lines, and my top priority is to identify ways to protect them and I am eager to get this underway.”

Ducey said the state and university are working with the federal government to get approval and move forward with the testing.

A private lab with offices in metro Phoenix and Tucson has already begun offering rapid antibody testing for the COVID-19 virus.

Results from a finger prick come back in 10 to 20 minutes and are fairly accurate, Tim Terrill, director of the ARCpoint Labs site in north Scottsdale, told KTAR News 92.3 FM Monday morning.

The tests can turn up two types of antibodies, immunoglobulin M, which are short term, and immunoglobulin G, which stay in the blood longer. Accuracy is in the 90s.

Arizona had reported 3,806 coronavirus cases and 131 deaths as of Tuesday morning.

“Governor Ducey is taking the next step in this battle by providing important antibody tests for vulnerable frontline workers,” University of Arizona President Bobby Robbins said in the release.

“The more testing that is done, the clearer the road map to recovery. As a premier research institution in the country, the UofA is ready and poised to provide this service to the state of Arizona.”

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