Coronavirus Antibody Testing Questioned

The CDC has updated guidance on testing for coronavirus antibodies.

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As testing for coronavirus ramps up in Connecticut, questions are being raised about the accuracy of one of the tests that checks for coronavirus antibodies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance over the weekend, saying that if the testing is done in an area where a low amount of the population actually has coronavirus, it’s possible that because there is more of a chance there could be an error with the test, "less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies."

Antibodies are produced by your body to fight off illnesses. Their presence can also give doctors and researchers a rearview mirror look at any infections you had in the past.

But to say that the presence of antibodies in your system means you won’t get coronavirus again is not certain, because scientists have said we just don’t know enough about this infectious disease yet.

For things like the measles, a vaccine will make you produce enough antibodies to fight it off for a lifetime. For the flu, which mutates often, a vaccine will help you produce antibodies that will fight it off for a much shorter time period.

Since there are questions about the accuracy of antibody tests, the CDC is also advising that the results should not be used to make decisions related to schools, dormitories, and correction facilities. 

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