LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Lisa Wagner and her husband contracted coronavirus in March. In April, they took antibody tests before visiting her elderly parents. They came back positive.
“We feel really lucky we’ve recovered,” Wagner said.
As more people seek out COVID-19 antibody tests, several major research companies — including Quest Diagnostics — are now offering them.
Quest launched a program this week for employers, which is calls “Return To Work.” The program includes antibody tests as well as diagnostic tests.
The company’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth said, the tests have been useful.
“Once we identify a person who has a positive antibody test, and we’ve determined that they are not currently infected with the virus, we now know that that person is very unlikely to bring the virus with them into the workplace,” he said.
Quest is also offering antibody tests on demand to consumers for $119 plus fees. The company calls the tests “immune response blood tests” and that “understanding this gives you insight on whether it’s right to return to work, school, and activity.”
However, said prominent researcher Dr. David Agus, said the these tests can give people false confidence.
“The problem with coronavirus is that you can have antibodies, but they’re the wrong ones,” said Agus, who is a USC/CBS medical contributor. “It doesn’t mean that they neutralize, or block, the virus. It doesn’t mean it gives you immunity.”
The CDC has also issued a warning that antibody tests could be wrong up to 50 percent of the time. Agus said there is real concern that results may not be helpful.
“I don’t want people taking a test, it coming back positive, and saying ‘Hey, I’ve been exposed. I can go out and hug grandma,'” he said. “Cause you may deliver the virus to grandma.”
Agus added that, in the future, there may be an accurate test for immunity.