UArizona President to Have Blood Drawn for COVID-19 Antibody Testing

April 29, 2020

UArizona President to Have Blood Drawn for COVID-19 Antibody Testing

  • What: Media availability with UArizona President Robert C. Robbins immediately following his blood draw for antibody testing. Robbins is expected to announce plans for the fall semester. Attendees are required to wear a mask.
  • When: Thursday, April 30, 11 a.m. (PT)
  • Where: Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center, 640 N. National Championship Drive
  • Parking: Parking will be reserved for media in Lot 6097 on the northwest corner of National Championship Drive and Sixth Street, west of the sports center's west entrance and south of the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.
  • Pool video: For health considerations, the university has arranged for pool video of the actual blood draw, which will be shared by KOLD-TV with any outlet requesting it.
  • Important note: This temporary clinic site is not accepting walk-up appointments. All appointments for this first round of testing for 4,500 people in Pima County are filled at this time.
  • B-roll and photos: https://arizona.app.box.com/s/iq0tv53ihbg0q1i4ba36amf816jri9nh
  • YouTube video: Unlocking the Immune Response to COVID-19 to Save Lives

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins will be among the first group of general population members to have their blood drawn for the COVID-19 antibody test developed by UArizona researchers.

Immediately following the blood draw, Robbins will make an announcement about the university's plans for the fall semester, and he will be available to answer questions from the media.

The university announced Monday the first phase of antibody testing would begin April 30 in Pima County with 3,000 frontline health care workers and first responders as part of a state-funded initiative to test those groups statewide. Through separate funding, 1,500 members of the general public – including 500 UArizona students currently residing in Pima County – are also being tested. The testing is by appointment only, and all of the current appointments have been filled.

In the next phase, 250,000 health care workers and first responders throughout the state of Arizona will be tested. Two weeks ago, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the state is providing $3.5 million in partnering with the University of Arizona on the effort to test this group.

This summer, the university also will provide antibody blood testing for the remaining majority of its 45,000 students and 15,000 employees, with separate funding. Plans for that testing are being finalized.

An antibody is a protein made by immune cells that attaches to viruses, bacteria and fungi. Most people who are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 make antibodies within a few weeks of infection. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies means the immune system mounted a response against the virus.

Experts do not yet know the amounts of antibodies that are required to fully prevent subsequent infections, but expect there might be some level of protection. However, because experts still do not know enough about this virus, protection should not be assumed.

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Media contacts:

Pam Scott
University Communications
Office: 520-621-1951 | Cell: 509-570-4610
pscott@arizona.edu

Chris Sigurdson
University Communications
765-404-5959
sig@arizona.edu

Mark Lane
University of Arizona Health Sciences
214-287-3529
marklane@arizona.edu
 
George Humphrey
University of Arizona Health Sciences
520-307-2638
ghumphre@arizona.edu

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.