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An antibody test to identify people who have recovered from the COVID-19 infection was developed by the New York State Department of Health, according to an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

As opposed to diagnostic tests, which often work by identifying genetic material specific to the virus, antibody tests detect the amount of antibodies present in an individual's blood. They measure the body's immune response rather than the presence of the virus itself.

Antibody tests, or serological tests, can be used to diagnose, but they are not the first line in diagnostic testing because they may not catch the virus early when the immune response is just beginning.

Governor Cuomo said that the Department of Health approved the new test for use in New York State, but that it has to be brought to scale first.

"You have 19 million people in the state of New York, just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly," he said in the announcement.

The primary goal of antibody testing is to identify people who have recovered from the virus, with the expectation that these people have developed a sufficient amount of antibodies to help them fight off another infection. The hope is that antibody tests — if they are produced on a large scale — will stimulate the economy by getting the people deemed immune back to work.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a policy on antibody testing in March, allowing some developers to market or use tests without FDA review if they met certain conditions. Under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the FDA has authorized only one EUA for a serological test, which is intended to be used in clinical laboratories.

Since then, the FDA said they are aware of more than 70 test developers who have reached out to the FDA to say they have tests available for use. However, the FDA announced that some developers are making false claims that their tests have FDA approval or authorization, or that they can diagnose people with COVID-19, according to a press release the FDA released on Tuesday.

Regarding the influx of antibody testing developers, White House coronavirus task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans not to buy antibody tests online.

"If you see them on the internet, do not buy them until we can give you a test that's reliable for all Americans," she said in a coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday. "Some of the tests that may be available on the internet may have very low sensitivity and specificity and give you a false reassurance that either give you a false positive or a false negative implying that you may be protected."

Watch our latest HealthDay Now as we dive into the latest details on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Mary Beth Son, Program Director of Boston Children's Hospital's Rheumatology Program, and Brian Padla, father of James Padla, who has MIS-C.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HealthDay Nows and other videos on our YouTube channel.


HD Live! Videos

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look at the global COVID-19 vaccination rollout and how the United States rollout compares.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Ran Balicer of Clalit Health Services and Dr. Arnold Monto of University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

UPDATE 1/26/21: Since our HD Live! interview with CEO Andrei Doroshin, the Philadelphia Health Department has severed its ties with the organization. The nonprofit has changed its status to a for-profit entity.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look at Philly Fighting Covid, a nonprofit organization run by graduate students from Drexel University that aims to help with mass COVID-19 vaccination in Philadelphia.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Andrei Doroshin, founder of Philly Fighting Covid.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a deep dive into the vaccine rollout across the country.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a deep dive into the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines, including the rollout process, potential side effects, supply and distribution.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and one of the physicians on the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look back and a look ahead at COVID-19 and its impact on the United States and its healthcare workers.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. David Shulkin, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, ex-CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and an accomplished healthcare executive, and Dr. Joel Zivot, anesthesiologist and clinician at Emory University Hospital ICU.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the latest on COVID-19, including the vaccines, the infection rates and the future.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Our latest HD Live! is a conference wrap-up of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, American Heart Association President-Elect, for a summary of the highlights of the AHA Scientific Sessions 2020.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Our latest HD Live! discussion is on how healthcare in America could be impacted by a Trump or Biden victory.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan, and Brian Blase, who served as a healthcare adviser to President Trump from 2017-2019 and is now president and CEO of Blase Policy Strategies.

Watch our in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.