The antibody test, which is seen as the key to reopening the country, has yet to produce results
Dene Callas, an advertising specialist in Santa Monica, California, quickly accepted this when her doctor offered to test her this month. An initial quick test was invalid; a second came back negatively. Still, Ms. Callas believed she was infected with the virus and was recovering: she attended a conference in Las Vegas in January and got sick within a few days. A positive test, she said, would have made a difference. “I would be a little braver outside,” she said. “I would volunteer if I knew I had the antibodies.”
Some major employers, including Goldman Sachs and Twitter, have looked at antibody testing, but have not bought it. Amazon has not focused on antibody screening, but intends to run diagnostic tests on hundreds of thousands of people on its warehouse and logistics network, according to people familiar with the plans.
However, some smaller companies have continued the new tests. At John Christner Trucking, a food transportation company near Tulsa, Okla., About 220 employees did quick tests. They were concerned about exposure after two were infected with the virus. A small number came back positive, said Danny Christner, the managing director. “I knew it wasn’t a silver bullet, but it was some information that people might know,” he said.
The Chicago Public Health Department bought 5,500 rapid tests and used them in homeless shelters. Those who were positive for the early antibodies were taken to city-rented hotel rooms and subjected to a diagnostic test to confirm the infection, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the department. The next step could be to test people in nursing homes, she said.
Sports leagues are also considering how antibody tests can be incorporated into their plans. The N.B.A., whose season is interrupted, has been approached for purchase tests and is awaiting guidance from public health officials.
Major League Baseball employees and players are tested as part of a Nationwide study with 10,000 people performed by external researchers to better understand the extent of the infection. A union representative of the players said the tests were voluntary and not linked to the start of the season.
Looking for a test that works
While political leaders and some health officials say antibody tests will be essential for the country’s reopening, expectations are unlikely to be met soon.
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