MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota is aiming to expand testing for both the COVID-19 virus and antibody resistance statewide.
University researchers invented a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that identifies the COVID-19 virus in patients, and also a test that determines if the patient has antibodies in their blood.
The university is preparing to conduct around 10,000 PCR tests and 10,000 antibody tests per day across the state.
The PCR tests would diagnose whether patients currently have COVID-19, and the antibody tests would identify if people have previously had it are at risk of getting it and/or are assumed to now be immune to it.
The university is asking for $20 million from lawmakers to implement the plan.
The tests are locally developed and manufactured in Minnesota.
The university would use the M Health Fairview network, Essentia, and partnerships with the Red Lake nation and Tribal communities to facilitate access to tests.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has said that he believes the state's economy will only be able to reopen when people are being tested at rates of 5,000 per day.
"The U of M’s testing proposal is aimed at achieving this goal," U of M spokesperson devin Henry said in a news release Thursday.
Both the U of M and the Mayo Clinic have previously said they can help with the numbers Walz is aiming for.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.