US military to test troops for coronavirus antibodies, top general says

US military to test troops for coronavirus antibodies, top general says

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff revealed Thursday that antibody testing during the coronavirus outbreak will be conducted throughout the U.S. military, with a priority placed on troops serving on submarines, in the nuclear forces and those needing to be on standby for rapid deployment.

Army Gen. Mark Milley made the announcement during a Defense Department virtual town hall alongside Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramón Colón-López.

"We do intend to incorporate antibody testing throughout the force," Milley said.


Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley speaks during the presentation of the Space Force Flag in the Oval Office of the White House with President Trump on May 15. (AP)

Milley's comments come a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that coronavirus antibody testing may be too inaccurate to be reliably used – and that even if antibodies are discovered, their ability to provide future immunity is unclear.

A positive test “likely indicates at least some degree of immunity,” the CDC wrote in its latest guidance, but added that “until the durability and duration of immunity is established, it cannot be assumed that individuals with truly positive antibody test results are protected from future infection.”

Gen. Milley also said the military is looking at instituting a 10-day quarantine for troops returning from overseas, as opposed to the current 14-day requirement.

"You still have to wear the mask," he added.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon revealed a U.S. Army reservist based in Wisconsin died from COVID-19, marking the third coronavirus-related death in the U.S. military.

Overall, 6,118 members of the military have been infected with the sickness, while 3,460 have recovered, the Pentagon says.

Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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