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May 01, 2020

Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Foster Holds Teleconference on Serology Testing for COVID-19

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a teleconference with Dr. Florian Krammer, Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Elizabeth McNally, Professor and Director at the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Dr. Denise Toney, Director at the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, State Laboratory for the Commonwealth of Virginia to discuss the importance of serological tests which can determine whether people were previously infected with COVID19 and developed an immune response to the virus.

As hospitals and healthcare providers race to identify those at risk or infected with COVID-19, serological testing is an important next step in finding those who have been exposed to and developed antibodies to the virus,” said Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, “Our nation’s best scientists are studying whether these antibodies could protect someone from a second infection, allowing some to travel or return to work. Serological studies may also provide insight on potential treatments for COVID-19, help us protect healthcare workers on the front line, and inform strategies for reopening the economy. I’m grateful to our experts today for sharing their research and helping us better understand how science can inform decision making in these critical areas.”

The Members, along with Dr. Krammer, Dr. McNally, and Dr. Toney, discussed the potential of serological tests to help protect essential workers, prioritize individuals for future vaccination, and inform physical distancing measures; the use of serological tests for developing a treatment for COVID-19; discuss FDA policy that allows companies to develop and distribute serology tests without prior FDA review; and the overall need for quality standards.

“Scientists across the globe have mobilized to meet this novel coronavirus with effective tests so we can be confident in delivering treatment to patients and so we can understand the scope of this pandemic,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “Serological tests are key to the second piece of this puzzle, and I am grateful to hear from three of the scientists working hard to make sure these tests are accurate and accessible, and that we understand what the tests do and do not tell us about the spread of the disease, the presence of antibodies, and any immunity that might be conferred by exposure or future vaccines.”