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Mainner has been tested for coronavirus antibodies, but it’s unclear what the results mean — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Main


Damian Dvarganes | AP

Damian Dvarganes | AP

Members of myCovidMD will undergo a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies at the Homeboy Industries parking lot in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

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In early May, health care providers in Maine launched a second coronavirus test that can detect past infections, but questions about the implications of the results meant that the state’s highest health authorities would Not recommended for.

These antibody tests are used to detect if a person is infected with coronavirus by detecting whether there are signs of coronavirus in the blood. They are expected to be an important part of the future response to the virus, unlike virus tests that use nasal swabs or saliva samples to detect current cases.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

However, the meaning of the test results is unknown. Unknown Whether people who have recovered from the virus can get it again, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ah Recent research from the Netherlands It was found that immunity to the virus lasted only 6 months.

That’s why Nirav Shah, the director of the main CDC, doesn’t recommend antibody testing at this time. However, his agency leaves the decision to the health care provider. As of Wednesday last week, about 85% of Coronavirus tests in Maine were virus tests, but 15%, or 2,884, were antibody tests.

“We haven’t yet taken the appropriate steps as to whether the presence of antibodies gives protection for months, years, or any of those properties,” Shah said in a Saturday interview. It was “That is, my recommendation for anyone is not to pursue antibody testing unless I am involved in a clinical trial or systematic study.”

Any person who tests positive for the antibody will be recorded as an estimate of the number of cases reported daily by the main CDC, but will also need at least two symptoms associated with the virus-induced disease COVID-19 is.

Therefore, when the symptoms are resolved, you move from the most likely case to the recovered case. As of last week, 125 of 187 possible cases have moved into the recovered category, according to Robert Long, a spokesperson for the main CDC. If a person who tests positive for antibodies does not have symptoms, it cannot be counted as a case, Shah said.

Although antibody tests have been on the market for months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in May that after testing several unapproved tests by several dozen manufacturers, it wasn’t supposed to be fraudulent or invalid. Crackdown has started.

According to Shah, antibody tests manufactured by major medical companies such as Abbott and Roche are relatively accurate. However, just because someone tests positive for an antibody does not mean they are immune to the coronavirus. Positive tests also do not indicate the number of antibodies that need to be present in order to be immune to COVID-19, and how long the antibodies provide protection.

Inaccurate antibody tests can also result in false positives. In other words, the test may have detected antibodies to a virus similar to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. False negatives can also occur in the test. This means that if the antibody is present, the test cannot detect it.

US CDC Not recommended We will use the results of the antibody test to assess resumption of business or relaxation of social distance restrictions. Because antibody testing is a rapidly developing area of ​​research, it may play a greater role in the main testing strategy in the future. Mr Shah said last week the state was “looking very carefully.”

Although the interpretation of antibody tests is scrutinized for accuracy, a third category of tests is emerging, called antigen tests. These tests detect the presence of viral proteins in blood and other biological samples such as saliva and nasal swabs. Antigen tests already exist for many viral infections such as influenza, tuberculosis, and HIV. But so far, the FDA has approved only one antigen test.

Little is known about antigen testing, but the main advantage is rapid results. Antigen tests will give you results in minutes. According to the FDA, antigen tests are not as accurate as standard tests, so not all active infections can be detected.

“It will be widely used in the future,” Shah said.

Watch: Janet Mills Announces Partnership That Triples Testing Capacity


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