The proposal, already being implemented by German researchers, is under consideration in the United Kingdom and Italy.
By Qunit Forgey, Politico
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed Friday the federal government is considering issuing Americans certificates of immunity from the coronavirus, as the Trump administration works to better identify those who have been infected and restart the U.S. economy in the coming weeks.
“You know, that’s possible,” Fauci told CNN’s “New Day,” when asked whether he could imagine a time when people across the country carry such forms of identification.
“I mean, it’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure that we know who the vulnerable people are and not,” he said. “This is something that’s being discussed. I think it might actually have some merit, under certain circumstances.”
The proposal is contingent upon the widespread deployment of antibody tests which the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are in the process of validating in the the U.S., Fauci said.
“Within a period of a week or so, we’re going to have a rather large number of tests that are available” to the public, he added.
The development of a comprehensive antibody testing system represents the next phase of the administration’s efforts to reopen the country and begin reintegrating essential workers such as health care providers and first responders back into society.
Although coronavirus testing thus far has been able to determine if an individual has an active infection, antibody tests report whether an asymptomatic person was previously infected but has since recovered, potentially allowing them to return to their jobs.
“As we look forward, as we get to the point of at least considering opening up the country, as it were, it’s very important to appreciate and to understand how much that virus has penetrated the society,” Fauci said.
Immunity certificates are already being implemented by researchers in Germany and have been floated by the United Kingdom and Italy, the most recent epicenter of the global outbreak in Europe.
In parts of China, citizens are required to display colored codes on their smartphones indicating their contagion risk. The controversial surveillance measure facilitated earlier this week the end of the lockdown of Wuhan, the city in China’s central province of Hubei where the novel coronavirus first emerged.
Asked Thursday about various methods of monitoring Americans who have come into contact with those who are infected, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “people are looking at all the different modern technology that could be brought to bear to make contact tracing more efficient and effective.”
“Are there more, if you will, say, tech-savvy ways to be more comprehensive in contact tracing versus the old fashioned way? You know, currently, these things are under aggressive evaluation,” Redfield told NPR.
This article originally appeared in Politico.