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

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- People who have recovered from COVID-19 could have a powerful weapon in their blood in the form of antibodies.

A new test that is poised to begin on Long Island could test for both coronavirus and antibodies, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.

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Inside Nassau University Medical Center, finger-prick tests will soon be administered to the county's first responders, including police, medics, sheriffs, and correction officers.

Results will be available in 15 minutes, Nassau's County Health Commissioner Fr. Lawrence Eisenstein said.

"When the state and FDA approval comes down and these tests can be legally administered, the protocols will go into place," Eisenstein said.


Hundreds of our brave front-line protectors are suffering through outbreaks and clusters. They are testing positive, or are in quarantine. The new testing will begin with them and will entail checking for the coronavirus, along with antibodies that indicate whether victims have recovered from infection and theoretically would not get it again.

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So, could their purified blood plasma stop the infection in another patient? Or prevent the virus?

"Now being able for the first time check to see if people have antibodies present," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital. "We're looking to see if we can use that therapeutically and give patients this hyper-immune gamma globulin solutions that would be created from people with high antibody totals. I think this is just phenomenal and I'm very very optimistic and hopeful that this can be a new way we can combat this catastrophic pandemic."

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

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the Legislature approved the $660,000 purchase of the test kits from Melville-based medical supplier Henry Schein.

"Testing first responders, as you heard the county exec, is the priority," Ryder said.

"If they do have the antibodies, they won't need as high a level of personal protection equipment," Curran added.

Pending approval, and following the testing of first responders, 20,000 rapid result kits could soon be used to test sick Nassau County residents.

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