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Coronavirus: NBA adds antibody testing to protocols - reports

Thursday 16 July 2020 07:16, UK

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media at All-Star Weekend
Image: NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media at All-Star Weekend

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, according to reports.

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ESPN first reported the release of the league's memo.

Since dead coronavirus cells can be detected in 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.

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According to the ESPN 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. Both games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

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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. The final requirement is for a negative rapid coronavirus test before having close, physical contact with others.

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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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