One solution to re-opening the US again would be to implement a coronavirus antibody test. There are now more than two million coronavirus cases worldwide. What’s proven to be the major danger of the virus is how easily it can spread via those who are asymptomatic. A reliable antibody test could prove who has already built an immunity, and thus scientifically show who could safely return to work.
According to National Geographic, the best way to test for antibodies is through serological assays. In layman’s terms serological assays are tests “that look for proteins called antibodies in a person’s blood. [They can] reveal whether a person has unknowingly been infected even long after they have recovered,” says National Geographic.
The difference between an antibody test and a normal coronavirus test is that the antibody test can allow medical professionals to determine if a patient has had the virus before, even though there’s no viral material in their body. Developing a reliable antibody test would be a game changer for the US, where businesses across the country are struggling to stay afoot while being forced to shut down to slow the spread of the virus.
Although there have been antibody tests implemented in certain parts of the world, it’s still too soon to rely on them as a way out of quarantine. The UK ordered a huge batch of antibody tests that proved to be wholly unreliable, and the US is still working on developing antibody tests via test groups.
Unfortunately the one thing that antibody tests have in common with the regular Coronavirus tests is that they still aren’t widely available. A recent study by the Los Angeles Times demonstrated how difficult it was for citizens of LA County to get an antibody test. One woman only got one because her friend noticed that the county health department was asking for trial participants. Other citizens either had to pay nearly 300 dollars out of pocket, or rely on their health insurance providers to foot the bill.
So there is a possible solution out there, but for most people struggling in the current economy it’s simply not affordable. Another downside of the antibody test is the fact that it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that those who present with coronavirus antibodies are guaranteed to not catch it again. Just like the flu, scientific studies currently show that you can catch Coronavirus more than once. (Although further studies perhaps might prove differently.)
Where Do We Go From Here?
Although the antibody tests are still themselves being tested out, they are providing a source of hope for people worldwide while scientists still race to develop a vaccine. The coronavirus has made a major impact on the world in more negative ways than one, but it’s also proven the determination of those determined to find ways to get everyone’s lives back to normal. Perhaps it’s about finding a new normal, finding a way for people to go back to work without fearing that they’ll get their loved ones sick when they get home.
The world may not be out of the woods yet. But we’re on our way.