COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — Tests for COVID-19 can be hard to come by, but there are dozens of tests on the market that test for antibodies.
But the sheer number of antibody tests available begs many questions — are they accurate? If one has antibodies, does that equal immunity? Do the presence of antibodies means someone is safe from coronavirus?
“It would maybe ease some of my anxiety depending on the result that I got,” Aisha Khan said.
Most antibody tests on the market got emergency usage approval and are not FDA approved, pathologists say, so the frequently produce false positives.
“Maybe 60, 70% of the tests that have hit the market are unreliable,” said Dr. John Heydt of KPC Health Global.
The danger is in the false comfort it imparts.
“If I tell you that you’ve been exposed and you really haven’t, and you don’t social distance and you come home and hug grandma, you can actually get her sick and that really worries me,” CBS Medical Contributor Dr. David Argus says.
Just this week, two more antibody tests have hit the market and are considered to be much more reliable, and both are FDA approved — the Roche Test and the Abbott Labs serum serological test. Heydt says OC Global Medical Center will begin using the Abbott Labs test, which can tell patients if they’ve been exposed and when they got the infection.
“It picks up everybody who’s infected and it’s 99.6% specific which means very few false negatives occur,” Heydt said.
Scientists say that even if a test does indicate the presence of antibodies, its not certain yet that they will protect people from reinfection.