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Former Washington Journalist
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Researchers at the New York State Department of Health have developed a new test which determines if an individual has been infected with–and recovered from–the COVID-19 illness, according to Gov Andrew Cuomo (D).
The health department is now working with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make that test available at mass scale, he added.
There have been more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 82,000.
In the United States, there have been 374,329 cases reported, including 12,064 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And most of those cases in the United States have occurred in the area in and around New York, which has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
“And that is an entirely new field that we are just developing now, right? New York state developed, a Department of Health to develop an antibody testing regimen that Department of Health has approved for use in New York state,” the governor said. “That has to be brought to scale, and the Department of Health is going to be working with the FDA to do just that. This test the blood to determine whether or not you have the antibodies which means you had the virus and resolved the virus. That’s why you would have the antibodies for the virus. That would mean that you are no longer contagious, and you can’t catch the virus because you have the antibodies in your system, which means you can get to work, you can go back to school, you can do whatever you want.
“But you have to have that testing, and you have to have that testing on a scale, right? You have 19 million people in the state of New York; just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly. So the antibody testing as part of that,” Cuomo added.
“Also, rapid testing to determine whether or not you have the virus now exists. They have ‘15 minute’ tests that are commercially available. But again, they have to be brought to scale,” the governor. “No private company has the capacity to bring those to scale. So I was speaking with Governor [Phil] Murphy [of New Jersey] and Governor [Ned] Lamont [of Connecticut], we are interested in working with private companies that can actually bring this testing capacity to scale quickly, because again if you have the antibody testing, that’s part, if you can then test if a person is positive for the virus and you can do it that day you can get those results in 15 minutes, that’s also another way to get back to life and do it quickly. So we are very interested in that, so is New Jersey, so is Connecticut. There are private companies that have these tests. Again, it’s all up to scale. We are starting them in the state of New York but we only have about a 50,000 person testing capacity, which is nice, but it is not a scale that’s actually going to make a large difference.
“So private companies that are interested in getting it to this base and coming up to scale quickly, we are interested in those companies and we are interested in investing in those companies and they should contact us at Empire State Development Corporation,” Cuomo said.
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