Antibody Tests May Answer Public Health Questions

By Christine Lehmann, MA, WebMD

June 1, 2020 — Big-name medical testing companies like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp have expanded access to antibody tests that can tell whether someone was recently infected with the coronavirus a few weeks after they’ve recovered from disease. You can order these tests online or go through your doctor.

Public health experts, however, question the value of antibody testing for individuals given the tests’ limitations and whether results are meaningful.

The CDC said this week that antibody tests are not yet accurate or reliable enough to use to determine whether to reopen workplaces, schools, and other places where people gather.

The accuracy of antibody tests has been mired in controversy. The FDA allowed hundreds of tests onto the market resulting in a Congressional investigation last month.

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