Health experts have been focusing on the development of an antibody test for COVID-19 but deemed to be ineffective.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts around the world have been working tirelessly to produce an effective treatment for COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases and deaths has accelerated at a high speed.
The government has also taken measures to control the spread by enforcing lockdowns and closing the businesses. However, as the global economy is suffering from the pandemic, governments are now considering to re-open despite the pandemic threat.
US turns to antibody testing as a way to re-open economy
The research for COVID-19 treatment will not be fulfilled any time soon. And with the downward turn of the economy, the US government turns to antibody testing. Antibody testing is a blood test done to distinguish COVID-19 antibodies in people.
Alarming new research has found that 6% of recovered #coronavirus patients had no detectable #antibodies to protect against being infected again. This could significantly complicate #COVID19 strategies relying on #antibody testing, herd #immunity, etc.https://t.co/SzE4sd1jPt
— Matthew VanDyke (@Matt_VanDyke) April 14, 2020
Clearly, the test will help identify the people who are exposed to the infection even if they are not showing symptoms. The test is greatly considered as a solution to flatten the curve of the infection.
Dr. Joan Cangiarella of the NYU Langone Health explains that the test will determine the number of the population who are still vulnerable to the infection.
WHO warns about the lack of evidence in antibody testing
Although antibody testing is important in determining the number of infected individuals, it is not the absolute solution. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has explained that antibody testing lacks evidence and does not ensure immunity to the disease.
Furthermore, there is also no assurance that the person who has developed the antibodies will not be vulnerable to it again.
Is the test accurate
Another issue raised in antibody testing is the immediate release of the test to the market without a proper review. Food and Drug Administration did not review the test but granted emergency approval to the makers.
TEAMWORK: cutting-edge research by @uarizona Drs. Nikolich-Žugich & Bhattacharya + world-class genetics/genomics support teams/equipment/facilities + state partnership = production of 250K #COVID19 antibody blood tests for AZ's front-line workforce.https://t.co/FwGB8bxlkA
— Dr. Elizabeth R. “Betsy” Cantwell (@UArizonaSVPRI) April 16, 2020
In addition, the antibody testing that is currently given to the market has different results. Some of the tests showed poor sensitivity, while others did not detect antibodies at all. Moreover, some of the tests produced false data by indicating the person positive with antibodies.
The test is currently circulating the market and its accuracy percentage varies from 80 to 100. Dr. Joan Cangiarella also added that the tests are marketed too soon without a thorough study on its effects.
Apparently, the antibody test needs more laboratory and medical testing before it can be distributed to the public.
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