COVID-19 antibody tests wrong half the time

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 19:36:08-04

Antibody tests to determine if a person has had a past infection of COVID-19 may be wrong up to half of the time, according to the CDC.

"I don't think we should be making any decisions using those antibody tests," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Dr. Gupta says a lot of the antibody tests initially put out were not good. The FDA has since put out a policy requiring antibody test makers to submit emergency authorization requests, along with proof the tests work.

"False positives is the worst kind of results because you think if I've got the antibodies, I'm good to go -- you're not and so the tests aren't good enough right now," said Dr. Gupta.

The CDC says health officials or healthcare providers using antibody tests need to use the most accurate tests they can find and might need to test people twice.

"Also we still don't know the exact meaning of what the antibodies are going to provide in terms of how long people would be protected as a result of these antibodies how strong these antibodies will be," explained Dr. Gupta. "It's likely they'll have some protection but we just don't know the extent of it yet."