Israel's planned antibody tests campaign, which was set to begin two weeks ago, has not gone ahead and there is no set date for when the testing will start, a Yedioth Ahronoth investigation revealed Thursday.
The tests, which are designed to show whether someone has had been infected with coronavirus and developed an immunity to it, were meant to have been trialed in Bnei Brak over two weeks ago, and used nationwide starting this week.
The antibody data can be used to better understand the spread of the pathogen, as well as understand the population’s readiness for a possible second wave of the virus.
Outgoing Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov told The New York Times in an interview in the beginning of May that 100,000 serological test kits were available for HMOs' use within a couple of weeks.
However, an internal report obtained by Ynet's sister publication shows that the Health Ministry had only just started preparing for the tests and has not even piloted it.
Both, the ministry and HMO officials have not set a date for the start of the campaign. "It's a very complicated undertaking," said one official. "There are an array of details we have to approve, we don't know when we will begin the testing."
The Health Ministry apparently still mapping out how the testing will proceed and the respective roles of various professional bodies, according to the report.
“This is a complex, difficult business,” a senior Health Ministry official said. “There are many details to agree upon. We don’t know when we’ll really start doing the tests.”
The planned pilot in the coronavirus-hit, Haredi city of Bnei Brak also doesn't have a replacement date after the initial testing two weeks ago encountered an array of problems and had to be halted.
A senior official at one of Israel's HMOs said it wasn’t clear when the pilot would start, with sources at Tel Aviv University, which is also taking part in the project, also saying the project has been postponed to an unknown date.
Bnei Brak Municipality claimed the pilot would likely begin in a week.