Antibody testing can help open the economy and get us working again

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President Trump faces the difficult challenge of balancing the demands of public health and economic stability while battling the novel coronavirus. Antibody tests may prove to be the secret weapon that allows our country to win the war against this invisible enemy. The national response to fight the pandemic involves many interlocking responsibilities, and we are still far from putting this crisis behind us. But an effective antibody test could significantly accelerate the timetable for returning to normalcy.

First, the most important job of President Trump was to lead the efforts to slow the spread of infection and save lives, which is what he did swiftly by imposing travel restrictions on coronavirus hotspots. With daily briefings on public health guidelines from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, along with the historic mobilization of both public and private resources, together we are steadily bringing this deadly disease to heel.

Second, the federal government has had to formulate a drastic economic policy response to ensure that this public health crisis does not lead to a depression, which could ultimately have more devastating consequences for Americans. The recently passed Cares Act is the largest relief package in our history, but it is by no means the only element of the strategy of the administration for softening the severe blow of such economic disruption that has already left around 10 million Americans without jobs.

Third, the final responsibility of President Trump is to craft and execute a plan to get our country running again once those restrictions on business and personal travel are no longer necessary. This responsibility has never been far from his mind, and while he has been criticized by some political opponents for mentioning it, he knows that reminding people of the light at the end of the tunnel is crucial to maintaining public morale.

President Trump and his team have repeatedly highlighted a very specific element of the restart plan, which is antibody testing. This refers to simply and quick testing of who had the coronavirus and developed the antibody that can resist the deadly disease it causes. Once a new antibody test is widely available, it could soon be possible to know who can safely return to their normal lives without risk of infecting themselves or others.

The Food and Drug Administration has, with historic rapidity, approved an antibody test for home use. It will soon be mass produced, giving medical workers an entirely new set of data on the pandemic. Despite a perplexing degree of baseless pessimism in the media, antibody testing could finally provide the blueprint for getting Americans working again if we can safely confirm that immunity to the coronavirus works as expected.

Brett Giroir, who leads the efforts for coronavirus testing, said he is “very optimistic” that the simple blood test could be made available to millions of Americans as early as next month. Those who are unlikely to spread the disease would no longer have to be confined to their homes. Companies could ascertain which employees can safely return to work, while people who lack antibodies, especially those from high risk populations, remain under lockdown until the worst of the pandemic has passed.

As President Trump and his team balance the twin priorities of our public health and economic stability, widespread availability of an antibody test could well prove to be the decisive factor that will enable us to defeat the coronavirus while minimizing the loss of both lives and jobs.

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Economics Government Health President Science

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