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Israel launches coronavirus antibody testing at last

Serological or antibody testing began Monday at Maccabi and Clalit health services, as part of an operation to carry out around 70,000 serological tests across the country.

Antibody testing had been delayed for more than a month due to “logistics” in the Health Ministry, the CEO of Maccabi, Ran Sa’ar, told The Jerusalem Post. But on Monday, the health service kicked off a campaign to test as many as 20,000 people.

Clalit launched with a goal of screening 35,000 people.

The Health Ministry reported that around 1,700 people were tested on the first day.

The treating physician offers a serological examination to patients who were already referred to the clinic for a blood test and according to the survey profile set by the Health Ministry, which includes age, place of residence and gender.

Serological tests identify immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. They are not meant to diagnose patients with the virus, but rather to determine if they have developed immunity to it. However, it is still unclear if immunity to the novel virus is short- or long-lasting.

The tests are expected to be around 95% accurate.

The Health Ministry said Monday that people who test positive for antibodies and have not been diagnosed with coronavirus in the past will also be required to take a PCR or molecular coronavirus test to determine if by chance they are still sick.

Original: Maayan Jaffe- Hoffman – JPost