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Mayo Clinic develops blood test to aid in COVID-19 vaccine, treatment

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The race for a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is ongoing and Mayo Clinic is rolling out a new blood test hoping to get a step closer to the vaccine.

"The test we're talking about is a blood test called a serologic test," said Dr. William Morice, Mayo Clinic Laboratory Medicine Chair. "Which tests for whether or not someone has been exposed to the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease and has generated an immune response."

That immune response comes in the form of new antibodies.

"The blood test is something you would use after someone has had an infection, typically about two weeks," said Dr. Morice. "If you can find that in the blood of an individual that means that they are probably protected from getting reinfected. We haven't proven that yet but we can estimate that they have some level of immunity to the virus."

The test results can be used to help find a vaccine or a possible treatment for patients actively fighting COVID-19.

"Mayo's helping to lead a nationwide program to collect the plasma from individuals who have been infected by SARS-COV-2 and had an immune response and have these antibodies in their blood," said Dr. Morice. "They can actually donate their plasma, be given to someone who's really fighting with the disease and treat them."

Testing like this isn't new, it's been used before with other large outbreaks like the Zika virus. The testing helps doctors understand the virus and how it spreads.

"The key take home thing is that with this testing, we have another tool that helps us fight COVID and that'll help us understand not only how to take care of patients, but also help get society back up to normal," said Dr. Morice.

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Kevin Millard

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