West Virginia offers first statewide antibody testing for fully vaccinated

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West Virginia has launched the country’s first statewide program to test COVID-19 antibody levels among residents who are fully vaccinated.

The program, dubbed “Booster Battlefield Assessment” and announced by Gov. Jim Justice, will allow state residents vaccinated more than six months ago and who are over the age of 60 to have their blood drawn and their antibodies measured, according to a statement from the governor.

The testing will include state residents who are in long-term-care facilities.

The state’s coronavirus czar, Dr. Clay Marsh, said there’s the potential that antibody levels may be depleted in adults who were vaccinated more than six months ago.

“With this Booster Battlefield Assessment program, we think that we can gather very valuable information that we can share with the CDC and the FDA … to be able to demonstrate real-world data in the U.S. that we may be able to use to benefit our population; to protect them from getting sick and dying,” Marsh said in a statement.

Justice said the program is one of a number of “proactive” measures the state is taking in response to the number of Delta variant cases rising sharply.

“In my stomach, I believe and I feel that the enemy is coming. And that enemy is this Delta variant,” Gov. Justice said.

“We’ve got to do something, and we’ve got to do something really fast,” he added.

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