FDA authorizes first coronavirus blood test, a key step for showing immunity and testing for vaccines

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first test for coronavirus that measures antibodies in the blood. Such tests could identify people who have recovered from COVID-19, a key for knowing who’s immune and for developing a vaccine.

“Antibody positivity likely means a person has recovered and can’t be reinfected. This test will be extremely valuable, especially for healthcare workers,” said Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and chief of the clinical chemistry and toxicology laboratories at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. His team is testing several possible COVID-19 blood tests.

Blood tests can determine someone had — and recovered from — COVID-19. More than 30 companies have similar tests in various stages of readiness.