Antibody Tests Were Rushed; Setback For A Back-to-Work Strategy

By on April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

Covid-19 antibody tests, considered crucial to any rational back-to-work strategy, have been rushed to market, and many are proving to be unreliable. A Scottsdale AZ law firm, as reported in the Arizona Republic, was among the organizations that availed itself of one of these tests, which if they were reliable would allow those who tested positive for antibodies to resume their normal routine with a good chance they would neither infect nor be infected by others. The law firm and others who had managed to get access to the test, which was being administered at drive-by sites, soon had to temper their understanding of what this test could indicate. The company that was providing it, as reported in an article that appeared about a week later in the New York Times, decided to quit offering it and instead switched to “more sophisticated lab-based tests.” According to the NYT article, the FDA had allowed about 90 unproven antibody tests to come to market, on the grounds the need was urgent, and the results were not good. It’s a “wild, wild West in terms of testing, and at a time when we need real definition of what these tests mean,” said one infectious disease expert. One test, which had been acquired by officials in Laredo, Texas, was touted as having reliability of between 93 to 97 percent, but public health officials there said it proved to be around 20 percent.

 

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