According to an update posted on the website of CDC, they are not accurately being able to determine if people had been infected with COVID-19 via antibody tests. If the test is done among a population where prevalence is low, there is a possibility that less than half of such tests will have antibodies.
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How is the antibody test done?
Molecular diagnostic tests help identify people who have an active infection. These people might not have symptoms, antibody, or serology. However, the test will show if the person is infected or was infected at some point in time.
The instructor of pathology and immunology from Washington University School of Medicine, Christopher Farnsworth, said that antibody testing is helpful to monitor how vividly coronavirus has spread within a certain community. The test can also help keep a note of how many people recovered from the virus, even when the symptoms didn’t show at all.
Low chances of antibody results
Antibody tests can be really helpful for times when a school reopens or when sports are back or track. However, the CDC acknowledged that the accurate results of antibody testing are much low. This is all the more in the places where coronavirus is not that prevalent. The agency said that there are less than 50% chances of those testing positive will show results of antibodies.
The condition is dangerous because people can believe that they are infected with COVID-19 but act like they have enough immunity. This is not always the case. CDC recommends that antibody tests shouldn’t be used for making decisions related to schools, dorms, correctional facilities, and more. The tests don’t determine the level of immunity among people.
As of May 26, 98717 have lost their lives in the US to COVID-19. The possibility of testing will show how many people get infected. On the other hand, antibody testing looks like the rearview mirror. Both the types of tests available right now show different signals, according to a professor of Global Health at Harvard, Ashish Jha.
A positive antibody test shows that a person has been able to produce antibodies to respond to the infection. However, it doesn’t give a definitive answer that the individual is protected from a relapse of the infection. Fortunately, the possibility of COVID-19 illness to happen more than once is uncommon. The presence of antibodies can confer short-term immunity to infections like SARS-CoV-2.