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Coronavirus: Scientists Looking Into Immunity Testing

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Experts are now looking into coronavirus immunity testing.

The test would tell people whether they've already had the coronavirus and have developed antibodies.

"The antibody test will be perhaps our most important tool as we eventually ease the lockdown," said UC Irvine Public Health Professor Andrew Noymer.

Noymer said it's possible that flu-like illnesses people experienced in late winter may have actually been the novel coronavirus.

Los Angeles County officials say the county has the capacity to do the testing, which could determine things like who can go back to work and which businesses can reopen.

"We're actually waiting for approval to do some community seroprevalence testing using an antibody test," said L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

Testing could also inform who needs to continue social distancing and could put some healthcare workers at ease if they've developed immunity to the virus.

"If someone is negative, that means they're susceptible and that means even if their neighbor can go back to work, that person needs to be very careful," Noymer said.

The capacity to widely offer antibody tests still appears to be weeks away but there have been developments.

In Colorado, one county is testing all 8,000 of its residents and a company in San Diego received approval from the Food and Drug Administration and is working on making their tests widely available.

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