The picturesque ski town of Telluride, tucked away high in the Colorado mountains, isn’t normally known for its pioneering in biochemical research – until now.
U.S. company United Biomedical is using this ski town and its San Miguel County of 8,000 as a prototype for a new test that shows who has been exposed to novel coronavirus, and may have developed immunity to it.
The company is carrying out the first county-wide antibody testing in the United States, free of charge.
The so-called ELISA tests, short for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays, detect virus-fighting antibodies in the blood, which could be a key for getting ‘immune’ Americans back to work.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-CEO OF UNITED BIOCHEMICAL LOU REESE, SAYING: “We're really focused on right now are our first responders and so keeping people in the workforce that would otherwise be quarantined at home by showing that they have an immunity to COVID." That’s United Biochemical Co-CEO Lou Reese who lives in Telluride part time.
He cites the city of Detroit as an example, where hundreds of officers are at home because they might have been exposed to COVID-19.
By identifying which ones have immunity, he says those could be redeployed in this time of urgent need.
But questions remain about how long coronavirus immunity levels last, and whether people who have antibodies could still be contagious… factors health officials aren’t taking lightly before potentially easing restrictions.