OMAHA – UNMC has partnered with COVAXX — a New York company — to start large scale antibody testing.
6 News spoke with a doctor who says this step means the country is working to reopen.
“We need to be thinking six months down the road and what are we needing to do now to be prepared six months down the road. This is one of those activities,” said Dr. Steven Hinrichs, chair of the Pathology Department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Partnering with COVAXX is a step that — for many illnesses — has led to medication.
“Hepatitis is the classic example. So for hepatitis B or C it’s one of the indicators that you really are protected if you have an antibody circulating in your bloodstream,” Hinrichs said.
But finding the role antibodies play in respiratory illnesses is a little trickier.
“Is it going to be useful in determining who is resistant to the infection or reinfection or does it offer protection? That is the question,” Hinrichs said.
Learning how to do large scale testing also means being one step closer to getting back to normal. Companies with 100 or more people need to know what medical screening needs to be done before jobs resume.
For many this means mass virus and antibody testing.
“They want a strategy for opening up their office towers, their areas of operation and that’s what we are looking at and evaluating — the application of the antibody test,” Hinrichs said.
Omaha first responders were the first to participate in large scale testing. Healthcare workers, military and agricultural enterprises are the next to be served.
Some of the first results from this large scale test are a few weeks out. Hindrich said he’s hoping to have information to release in about 10 days.