The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is starting to test people for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the New York Times reports.
According to Stat News, officials say testing has begun on people from outbreak hotspots in the US who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19. Later phases are to test people from other parts of the country, likely beginning this summer, as well as focus on particular groups like healthcare workers, though there is not yet a timeframe for that third phase. Cellex last week became the first lab to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration its coronavirus serology test.
"We think the serum studies will be very important to understand what the true amount of infection is out in the community," Joe Bresee, deputy incident manager for the CDC's pandemic response, said during a press briefing, according to Stat News.
Knowing the scope of the outbreak could help researchers better understand how it spreads and inform containment measures, Vox notes.
NPR adds the CDC has also unveiled a new system for tracking the pandemic in the US called COVIDView that will provide weekly updates of testing results, COVID-19 diagnoses, and people seeking treatment for symptoms similar to those of the virus.