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New test to determine coronavirus immunity coming to Melbourne

Federal government considering issuing ‘Certificates of Immunity’ to help reactivate workforce and economy

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.OMNI Healthcare will now begin antibody testing at the Melbourne coronavirus drive-thru testing facility, according to a news release.

The multi-specialty physician group said the new coronavirus test they are offering is a serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that checks for the presence of antibodies against the virus. A positive result indicates that a person has been previously infected and under most circumstances is immune to re-infection, according to a news release.

OMNI officials said the test can be performed on blood obtained from a finger stick, and that test results are available with minutes.

Once someone is determined to be immune and determined to be free of the COVID-19 virus, the current consensus is that they are no longer infectious, are immune from re-infection, and can stop social distancing, OMNI officials said.

Unlike many currently available COVID-19 tests that rely on nasal or sputum samples to detect current infections, the new immunity tests indicate who has been previously infected and has antibodies to fight the coronavirus infection. Only patients previously tested for the virus will be eligible for the finger test. Patients will be given the option of being tested for the virus and the antibody if they meet eligibility criteria, according to OMNI officials.

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The data from immunity testing could indicate how many people have been infected to date and how many would potentially be susceptible to future infection giving public-health authorities a better understanding of how to respond to the pandemic, according to a news release.

“These immunity tests are extremely important to hospitals and others who are on the front lines of battling this pandemic,” said Dr. Craig Deligdish, Medical Director at OMNI Healthcare. “Healthcare workers and first responders who are immune to the coronavirus are desperately needed.”

Deligdish said the Federal government is even considering issuing “Certificates of Immunity” from the coronavirus to help reactivate the U.S. workforce and economy.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration granted the first emergency authorization to use the immunity tests which are validated by independent reference labs. The tests are manufactured in Australia, Canada, China, England, and the U.S.

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OMNI officials said they will be using kits manufactured in the U.S. and in other countries and will validate the tests in the context of a clinical trial in collaboration with Eurofins, an additional testing laboratory.

OMNI will begin drive-thru testing Friday at 1344 S. Apollo Blvd. in Melbourne beginning at 2 p.m., then will operate daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

OMNI officials said they expect to test as many as 1,000 patients a day at its Melbourne facility.

According to a news release, testing will be billed to third-party payers. Patients without insurance will be charged $100 for immunity testing.

Patients will be given the option of being tested for the virus and the antibody if they meet eligibility criteria. Patients interested in being tested can make appointments by calling (321) 802-5515 or emailing covid@omnihealthcare.com.

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