IDF soldiers will soon be tested for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, using a new serological test developed by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Medical Corps.The test, based on blood samples, measures the presence of antibodies to help the army determine how many soldiers are immune to the virus. This could help minimize future outbreaks across units, ensure full operational capability and prepare for any second coronavirus wave. “A fear of contagion in the IDF could impair the operational capability of certain units,” explained Prof. Ariel Munitz, who together with Prof. Motti Gerlic of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, led the development of the test. “The tests we carried out will allow the army to identify those soldiers who have developed antibodies and possibly even viral resistance, and who can continue their duties without risk of infection and spread of the disease. As we expand the testing and our database, the IDF will be able to increase its operations while balancing its concern for soldiers’ health.”The test takes about an hour and is currently being evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration, Tel Aviv University said. It detects a full range of antibodies, including IgM, IgG and IgA, all types of immunoglobulin.Lt. Col. Dr. Ariel Furer of the Israel Medical Corps said the IDF will review the results of the study and may consider incorporating serological testing into soldiers’ routine medical checks, to help stop any future spread of the virus.Until now, the country has been using only PCR or molecular coronavirus testing, which can tell if the virus is active. These tests are conducted by taking nasal and mouth swabs but have been found to have a false negative rate of around 30%. Moreover, they are expensive, and it takes from 12 hours to up to a week to receive results.The Health Ministry announced earlier this month that it has brought serological testing kits to the country for use among the general population. A survey is scheduled to launch in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city of Bnei Brak in the coming days or weeks.