April 2 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:23 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020
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1:31 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

US health expert says a coronavirus antibody test could be available "within this month"

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks at the White House on Wednesday, April 1.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks at the White House on Wednesday, April 1. Alex Brandon/AP

Dr. Deborah Birx said a coronavirus antibody test could be available “within this month” and says, “I've really called on every university and every state to develop ELISA’s, you can buy the antigens and the controls online, and really work to test entire health care communities in your state and support them that way.”

The ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, detects and measures antibodies in blood. If successful, the test could help identify those who have already had the virus, but have since recovered.

Experts say that if a person has had the virus and developed antibodies, it will most likely mean they have built up immunity and the chances of that person being infected again drops dramatically. 

Birx said that the test could help identify frontline medical workers who may have had the coronavirus and not know it.

“I think really being able to tell them, the peace of mind that would come from knowing you already were infected, you have the antibody, you are safe from reinfection. 99.9% of the time," Birx said.

Birx said a first test could be available, “soon, within this month if the universities help us, absolutely.”

Watch:

9:51 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

At least 917 new US coronavirus deaths reported in single day

There have been at least 917 new coronavirus deaths reported in the US on Wednesday, according to a count by CNN Health. 

This is the most reported deaths in the United States in a single day during the coronavirus outbreak.

There have been a total of 4,745 deaths reported in the US since the outbreak began.

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