How accurate are those COVID-19 antibody tests?

How accurate are antibody tests?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - New guidance out by the CDC says the antibody tests that determine if you've been infected with COVID-19 could be wrong up to half the time.

We spoke with Dr. Wesley Willeford at the Jefferson County Health Department.

He said a lot of people get the antibody test out of curiosity, but we simply don't know if a positive antibody test means you're protected from getting infected with COVID-19 again.

The CDC said antibody tests should not be used to make decisions on who should return to work or school.

And Dr. Willeford said some false positive antibody tests may not be the test's fault, but instead a fault of biology.

"As part of your normal life, you were exposed to this other, much-less severe coronavirus years ago, does your body still have that immunity? It very well can. So that may create a false positive," explained Dr. Willeford. "So that's certainly something that could be contributing to that."

Dr. Willeford added that the health department is more focused on identifying the active cases with the diagnostic tests, but later on, these antibody tests will be helpful to estimate how many people actually had the virus that we didn’t capture earlier on.

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