Test that detects previous coronavirus infection could be available in a week

Tests that can identify antibodies in a person's blood to indicate whether they recently had the new coronavirus could be available in the U.S. "within a period of a week or so," Anthony Fauci, MD, said on CNN's "New Day" April 10.

The antibody tests, which would need to be validated, could be used with tests that can identify a current infection, he said. Together, the tests could provide a full picture of the virus' spread.

"But as we look forward, as we get to the point of at least considering opening up the country as it were, it's very important to appreciate and to understand how much that virus has penetrated this society," said Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader in the nation's response to the pandemic. "Because it's very likely that there are a large number of people out there that have been infected, have been asymptomatic and did not know they were infected."

The antibody tests could also help clinicians figure out whether a person is likely to be reinfected.

About 475,749 people in the U.S. have been sickened by the new coronavirus, and 17,836 people have died, according to data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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