Antibody Testing Is Touted As Crucial To Reopening, But Scientists Warn Results Can Be Flawed
Some scientists worry that government leaders are putting too much faith into the promise of antibody testing, when the results of the tests can often be inaccurate. It's a good tool to show the spread of the virus, they say, but shouldn't be an instrumental part of public policy.
The New York Times:
Can Antibody Tests Help End The Coronavirus Pandemic?
A survey of New Yorkers last week found that one in five city residents carried antibodies to the new coronavirus — and in that, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo saw good news. If so many had been infected and survived, he reasoned, the virus may be far less deadly than previously thought. But many scientists took a darker view, seeing instead a vast pool of people who are still very vulnerable to infection. Like the leaders of many states, Mr. Cuomo has been hoping that the results of large-scale antibody testing may guide decisions about when and how to reopen the economy and reintegrate society. (Madavilli, 4/26)
Antibody Tests Go To Market Largely Unregulated, Warns House Subcommittee Chair
Coronavirus antibody tests have garnered attention from officials as a potential tool to evaluate people's immunity to the illness. But the majority of companies creating the tests have had little to no regulatory oversight, according to the chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. Antibody tests, when accurate, can detect if someone has been exposed to the coronavirus in the past. (Hagemann, 4/26)
Unreliable Antibody Tests Flood The Market As FDA Waives Quality Reviews
The Food and Drug Administration is dealing with a flood of inaccurate coronavirus antibody tests after it allowed more than 120 manufacturers and labs to bring the tests to market without an agency review. The tests, which look for antibodies that reveal whether a person has been exposed to the virus, have been eyed as a tool to help reopen the country by identifying people who may have immunity. Antibody data could also help determine the true size of the U.S. outbreak by finding cases that were never formally diagnosed. (Brennan and Lim, 4/27)
The Associated Press:
Answers To Questions About New Coronavirus Antibody Studies
Studies have begun to emerge that try to determine how many Americans have been infected by the new coronavirus. But are they accurate? The results depend on where and how the research is done, and it can be difficult to draw firm conclusions from the early findings, experts said. For instance, a study in New York state, one of the nation’s most infected, estimated that the true number of infections is about 10 times the official count. (Stobbe, 4/24)