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Why scientists are looking at the blood of coronavirus patients

The key to returning to normal after this outbreak may be finding out who has already battled coronavirus.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A close up shot of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV an infectious flu virus which causes respiratory illness. Human blood samples in a medical lab. 3d illustration concept.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Many of us are itching to return to the way things were, but that could be difficult with COVID-19 coronavirus still out there.

As we learn more about this virus, one of the surprising findings is many people who contract the virus never show symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 25 percent of people infected with this coronavirus are asymptomatic and finding those people might be key to lifting the stay at home orders.

A person who has been infected develops antibodies, which are blood proteins that fight off bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances. Those antibodies should provide some layer of protection against being infected again. 

The CDC has started testing people to try and detect those antibodies, Politico reports.

The Food and Drug Administration has also given emergency approval to a rapid result blood test that has already rolled out but right now, the testing is focusing on outbreak hotspots. 

Italy and Germany are already considering using antibody tests to give citizens certificates, allowing them to return to normal life.

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