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Covid-19: NBA adds antibody testing to protocols

Last updated 7 months ago | By Reuters


NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder team. [Photo: NBA)

Because of a concern for false positives with coronavirus testing, the NBA on Wednesday authored a memo that added antibody testing to its return-to-play protocol, ESPN reported.

Since dead coronavirus cells can be detected in COVID-19 testing, it could lead to a positive result that would force a player to sit out for an extended period. A previously-conducted antibody test would help reveal if a player is not necessarily asymptomatic but has already recovered from the virus.

According to the report, the NBA is worried about false positive tests for players, especially among star players, as the season reaches the playoffs. The league has convened 22 teams in central Florida to each play eight regular-season games, leading into a 16-team playoffs.

The resumption of play begins July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex when the Utah Jazz take on the New Orleans Pelicans, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers against the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to the memo, there are four steps in order to complete before returning to a team.

First, a total of 14 days needs to pass from a first positive test or the end of virus symptoms. Second, a player needs two negative tests in a 24-hour period. The third stipulation is that a player needs to have a positive antibody test within the last 30 days, and the final requirement is for a negative rapid coronavirus test before having close, physical contact with others.

The steps were reportedly reviewed by an infectious disease expert and epidemiologist working with the NBA and the league's players' association.

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