Israel has finally launched its long-awaited national COVID-19 antibody testing program.
Serological testing began Monday at the Clalit and Maccabi HMO (kupat holim) clinics; any member who went to the center to receive a blood test for any reason automatically also received a blood test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as well.
The move comes as part of an operation to carry out some 70,000 serological tests nationwide in hopes of determining how many Israelis have developed antibodies to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Antibodies indicate that a person has had the illness at some point in the past and has developed some form of immunity to it.
It is not yet clear how strong COVID-19 immunity may be, and it is also not clear how long that immunity might last. There have been a number of reports of people who had the virus, developed an immunity, tested negative for the active virus and then tested positive again.