First responders get tested for antibodies in Northville Township to further understand COVID-19

There’s a lot we don’t know about antibody testing, but one community has decided there’s value in moving forward by testing first responders.
There’s a lot we don’t know about antibody testing, but one community has decided there’s value in moving forward by testing first responders.

NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – There’s a lot we don’t know about antibody testing, but one community has decided there’s value in moving forward by testing first responders.

Should you get an antibody test for coronavirus? The hope would be that if you tested positive, you’d be immune to it but researchers don’t know if that’s true. First responders still want to be tested and hope that data can lead to more solid answers.

Hundreds of first responders were tested for antibodies

Being tested for coronavirus antibodies at Ward Church in Northville Township on Six Mile Road.

“We have been wanting to host testing for some time," said John Nowacki. "So when this developed, we said we’re in.”

These types of antibody testing is occurring all over Metro Detroit. It’s still unclear what the test results really mean, but they believe it is important to begin gathering data from first responders.

“We have platoons coming in and it makes a lot of sense to have this test," said Northville Township Supervisor Bob Nix. "It will help us going forward.”

“This is a new virus," said Wayne County Commissioner Terry Marecki. “There are going to be a lot of knowledge coming out of different type of testing.”

An antibody is a protein your body makes to try to neutralize something foreign in the body -- like a virus -- but medical experts say antibody tests for coronavirus right now aren’t that reliable.

First responders want to know if they had the virus and if they are now immune to it -- and there is still no answer to that question.

Dearborn’s ACCESS -- the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the nation -- raised the money to test 400 first responders in Wayne County.

“What does this look like? Who has been exposed and who hasn’t? Who was asymptomatic as opposed to showing symptoms?" said Mona Makki, wich ACCESS. "There are a number of things that we are trying to learn about this COVID-19 that is not well understood but we feel this information is important to kind of understand what does this really look like?”

The test being used has emergency use authorization by the FDA. The bottom line is, regardless of what a test says, all of us, first responders included have to protect ourselves and others as we learn more this virus.

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

More information on coronavirus (COVID-19):


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.