Bay Area Antibody Testing Ramps up… But Does it Work?
Thank you to the SF Chronicle for letting us know that California is ramping up antibody testing but big questions still remain.
It seems like California is in the middle of a rocky road with its COVID-19 Antibody Testing Program. The City is ramping up testing but the accuracy and benefits remain uncertain. The worry is if people get a positive result and “think” they are immune that they may fail to follow social distancing protocols and make things worse.
Bay Area Public Health Officials started distributing tens of thousands of coronavirus antibody tests from Abbott Laboratories to more than a dozen labs across the state as counties. This is in preparation for the reopening of business, recreation, and schools. Most testing and health service companies are promoting antibody testing as a way to help people feel safer as we go through the process of normalization.
But a disclaimer issued by the FDA on some of these tests stated that: “Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 and positive results may be false.” State public health officials also have cautioned that it is still unknown whether accurate positive results mean protection from future infection.
The warnings present a challenge and many questions. If you survived COVID-19, does that mean you cannot get it again? Will the antibodies in your bloodstream give you immunity? Who is safe to be exposed to the disease if they are indeed now shielded from it? And a lot more questions that need to be answered.
“The idea of testing resonates with people, but from an individual use perspective, the test doesn’t make a darn bit of difference right now,” – Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County’s public health officer,
Read more at SF Chronicle.