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Statewide Antibody Testing Initiative Reaches Milestone, Expects Vaccine-Related Increase in Registrations

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Officials with the COVID-19 antibody testing initiative expect an increase in respirations as people who receive a COVID-19 vaccine will want to confirm their immunity with an antibody test.TUCSON, Ariz. — As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across the country and Arizona, the University of Arizona – State of Arizona COVID-19 antibody testing initiative is gearing up for a significant increase in people registering for a test. The initiative recently surpassed 50,000 people who have signed up, and officials expect that most people who receive one of the new vaccines will want to confirm their immunity by having a COVID-19 antibody test.

The tests, which are fully funded by the state as part of a UArizona Health Sciences research study, are available for anyone in Arizona age 18 and older. 

“The vaccines work by introducing a noninfectious protein of the virus to the immune system, which then produces antibodies that protect against the virus,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, PhD, an associate professor in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Immunobiology who helped develop the university’s antibody test. “Using our antibody test, earlier this year we were able to confirm from a study of 6,000 people that antibodies produced in response to COVID-19 infection provide lasting immunity. People receiving a vaccine who want to confirm a positive antibody response should wait at least two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine before being tested.”

The antibody test developed by the UArizona Health Sciences research team is one of the most accurate in the country, with an estimated false-positive rate of less than 1 in 5,000.

The UArizona’s antibody testing program was originally conceived as a tool to help navigate campus reentry, but the partnership forged with the state quickly turned the test into a large-scale public health initiative.

The antibody test developed by the UArizona Health Sciences research team is one of the most accurate tests in the country, with an estimated false-positive rate of less than 1 in 5,000. Registration for a test at one of 17 sites across the state is available at covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu.

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NOTE: Photos available upon request.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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