Alpharetta becomes first city in Georgia to provide antibody testing to first responders

The city of Alpharetta partnered with StageZero Life Sciences to offer free antibody testing to all 200 of the city's first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The city of Alpharetta partnered with StageZero Life Sciences to offer free antibody testing to all 200 of the city's first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The city of Alpharetta partnered with StageZero Life Sciences to offer free antibody testing to all 200 of the city's first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

This week, the city of Alpharetta became the first city in Georgia to provide COVID-19 antibody testing to first responders, according to a May 20 press release from the city.

All 200 first responders employed by the city of Alpharetta can receive the test, which can indicate whether a person has been exposed to COVID-19. Funding for the program is being provided by the city at no cost to first responders, the press release said.

Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin said in the press release that the city is in discussions with the Wellstar Healthcare System on expanding the program to all city employees as well as other essential workers and major employers in Alpharetta.

"Exactly what such an expansive program would look like, how it could be achieved logistically and how it could be funded are all being explored at this time," he said in the release.

StageZero Life Sciences—which operates a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified, high-complexity laboratory in Richmond, Virginia, qualified for performing serology testing for COVID-19 antibodies—partnered with the city for the current antibody testing program, according to the release.


"Mayor Gilvin and the city of Alpharetta's approach to opening up the city's economy while working to ensure the safety of city employees, businesses and citizens is commendable," said James Howard-Tripp, chairman and CEO of StageZero Life Sciences, in the release. "We are pleased to be part of the process and to work with the team at Wellstar as well."

According to the release, Alpharetta resident Sunny Nastase approached Gilvin about StageZero's approach to antibody testing. StageZero uses a two-stage process, which the company claims provides a 99% accuracy rate.

"Sunny brought everyone to the table, and the resulting conversations convinced our team that the initial program would have value," Gilvin said in the release. "But the further we got into the discussion, the more we wondered if pursuing a broader program would be feasible and beneficial to others."
By Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the reporter for north Houston's Tomball/Magnolia edition in September 2018, moving to Alpharetta in January 2020 after a promotion to be the editor of the Alpharetta/Milton edition, which is Community Impact's first market in Georgia.


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