UArizona, State of Arizona to Expand COVID-19 Antibody Testing Statewide

May 15, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona is expanding its analysis of blood samples to include hundreds of thousands of Arizonans statewide to determine who has developed antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19. The state of Arizona is providing $3.5 million for the testing to increase throughout Arizona.

Phlebotomist Krystal Wiley, with the All of Us Arizona Research Program, draws blood from a University of Arizona Police Department officer for antibody testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: University of Arizona Health Sciences/Kris Hanning)In addition to testing sites in Pima County, where the first phase of the initiative began on April 30, new sites will begin opening the week of May 18 in the other 14 counties in Arizona. Overall, there will be 31 antibody testing sites across the state, with additional sites becoming available as needed. The specific testing site for each participant will be selected during the registration process.

Registration for health care workers and first responders across the state is now available at covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu, where participants also can find the most current information on the antibody testing initiative, including the type of test and the qualifications for registering.

College of Medicine – Tucson Dean Michael Abecassis, MD, getting his blood drawn April 30 for COVID-19 antibody testing by nurse Marla Coury. (Photo: University of Arizona Health Sciences/Kris Hanning)An antibody is a protein made by immune cells that attaches to viruses, bacteria and fungi. Most people who are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 make antibodies within a few weeks of infection. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies means the immune system mounted a response against the virus.

Experts do not yet know the amounts of antibodies that are required to fully prevent subsequent infections, but expect there might be some level of protection. However, because experts still do not know enough about this virus, protection should not be assumed.

Staff process samples at blood draw at the UArizona Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center, which served as a temporary clinic for antibody testing of first responders and health care workers in late April. (Photos: University of Arizona Health Sciences/Kris Hanning)FAQs and registration information are available on the COVID-19 Antibody Testing website.

The UArizona Health Sciences COVID-19 Resources webpage can be found here. See photo galleries for initial antibody testing for front line workers and processing of antibody tests.

For UANews coverage of COVID-19, visit this link.

For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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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).

About the University of Arizona
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For more information: arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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