Watch CBS News

Coronavirus Update: N.J. City Begins 'Rapid Antibody COVID-19' Testing On First Responders

UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- First responders in one New Jersey city are being screened to see if they have had coronavirus, and the results come back much faster than a traditional test.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reported, the process could be vital in sending more people back to work.

With New York and New Jersey on pause, many are wondering when things will get back to normal. The push to get there may begin with the prick of a finger.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

At the Union City Courthouse this week, first responders began a screening process to determine who may have already been exposed to COVID-19. Just five minutes later, the results are back.

The screening costs between $25 and $50 per person.

Dr. Meyer Davidoff is a pharmacist with the New Jersey-based Invictus Pharmacy.

"The test is a rapid antibody COVID-19 test. It tests for two antibodies in particular, IGG and IGM," Davidoff said.

MORECoronavirus Update: Testing For Antibodies To Begin Soon In Nassau County

Those antibodies show the body's response to a coronavirus infection. Invictus screened nearly 200 police officers and EMT workers on Friday. The majority tested negative, but at least eight came up positive.

"Those that did actually were sent to do the nasal swab, and they came out negative," Davidoff said.

Which means the patient had likely been exposed to coronavirus, has since recovered, and should now be immune.

The screening is not FDA approved, but can be used to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19.


Davidoff said the screening could be implemented on a larger scale by other government agencies and even corporations to determine who is safe to start working again.

"You're now allowing people to get back to work, to start doing what they were doing before, and just stabilizing life as we remember, as we once knew," Davidoff said.

MORECoronavirus Update: Recovered Patients Still Testing Positive For Traces Of Virus, Raising Concerns About CDC Guidelines

And since traditional coronavirus testing is still unavailable to the masses, antibody screening could be crucial to getting healthy people back to work and getting life back to normal.

Invictus Pharmacy has now been contacted by other New Jersey cities to conduct antibody screenings for first responders.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.