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Ask a Doctor: The COVID-19 Antibody Test Is Still Unreliable | Uncategorized

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Dear Doctor: I had a coronavirus test, but it was negative. Then I had an antibody test, and I was surprised when it returned positive because I wasn’t sick. How do these coronavirus tests work? Are they accurate?

Dear readers: There are two test goals associated with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. One is to check if you are currently infected. The other is to check if you have been infected in the past.

The most common test being conducted at the moment is against the coronavirus itself. This includes the use of nasal swabs, A slender rod with a soft tip like a brush... The swab is carefully inserted deep into the nose, down to the passage leading to the back of the throat. (It’s uncomfortable, but not painful.) The goal is to collect a sample containing cells and secretions along the back of the throat and the length of the nose. Less invasive, COVID-19 (new coronavirus infectious disease) (# If there is no character limit, add parentheses when first appearing A test that only relies on a throat swab, Similar to the test used for streptococcal pharyngitis, Not as accurate as a nasal swab. A newly developed saliva test was submitted for regulatory review, requiring only a saliva sample and returning results within 30 minutes. Each of these tests looks for genetic markers specific to SARS-CoV-2. On July 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Control announced the development of a single test that could diagnose influenza A and B and a novel coronavirus.

When infected with a virus, the immune system Professional A protein known as an antibody for initiating attacks. Antibodies are specific to the invaders they are fighting, so it is often possible to identify when someone’s immune system fought a particular pathogen. It usually takes at least one week and up to three weeks or more for the body to develop the antibody. Rarely, some people, despite being infected with a pathogen, never develop antibodies.

Antibody testing is done by screening blood samples for specific markers of the antibody in question. Unfortunately, for the new coronavirus, the accuracy of these tests matters. The CDC found that up to half of the antibody test results were inaccurate and could lead to either false positives or false negatives. In a recent study, 40 different antibody tests were investigated, and their accuracy varied greatly. Researchers suggested that people should not rely on results until these tests improve.

It is entirely possible to have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, even though it is not a physical illness. A feature of this virus is that some people do not develop symptoms despite being infected. However, they are still able to pass the virus known as subclinical infection. That’s why it is so important for each of us to cover our faces and wash our hands in public, at social distances, to protect the people around us.

Elizabeth Ko, MD is a Physician and Associate Professor at UCLA Health. Eve Glazier, MD, MBA are physicians and associate professors at UCLA Health.

Please send a question to [email protected]Or write: Ask a Doctor, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1450, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Due to the large volume of emails, we cannot provide personal replies.

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