Just few hours ago, a study was released that described the development of a diagnostic test that will be able to determine whether someone has previously been exposed the coronavirus.
Caveat. It has not been peer reviewed and the patient numbers are small. But it is a very good study.
They found that basically everybody is naive. No one has seen this bug or anything like it before. This is why it is spreading so quickly through our population.
But, people recovering from this infection seroconvert (produce antibodies) against the spike protein found in the outer coat of the virus.
Again, this is more evidence that a vaccine may work. But we need to confirm that the antibodies are neutralizing.
This means you can take blood (non infectious sampling) and determine if a person has previously been infected. This will let us get a good handle on how many people are immune in the population. Allows us to collect convalescent serum from immune people to treat critical patients.
Importantly, we can test health care workers and ask the ones already immune to work with infectious patients. In that way the virus will not easily spread in healthcare settings.
On top of this.... Just so you can appreciate what these people have done. They have developed all the needed tools as well as the method to do this assay in just 1 month. Normally years. They have then freely distributed this information to everyone so other labs can do the same thing. Essentially, they have freely given to the public one of the most important tools to help us in this epidemic.
This is extraordinary on number of levels.