HALF of coronavirus antibody fingerstick tests are unreliable, new studies show – including one that said a drop of saline was positive for the virus
- ABC News and the Mayo Clinic looked at nine coronavirus antibody tests using a fingerstick blood drop
- Four out of nine failed to meet Mayo Clinic’s medical standards for performance and accuracy
- One gave false positive results after researchers added just a drop of saline, not a blood sample
- 200 antibody tests are available, but only 12 have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
A new study shows that several antibody tests for the new coronavirus currently on the market are unreliable.
ABC news and the Mayo Clinic looked at nine tests that use a drop of blood from a fingerstick to see if someone has immune-fighting cells against the virus.
Researchers found that four out of nine tests failed to meet Mayo Clinic’s medical standards for accuracy and performance.
One test even gave a positive result for antibodies when researchers added just a drop of saline, not a blood sample.
Four out of nine coronavirus finger prick tests (pictured) failed to meet Mayo Clinic medical standards for accuracy and performance
One gave false positive results after researchers added just a drop of saline, not a blood sample. Pictured: A registered nurse draws blood from Beulah Johnson on a COVID-19 antibody test drive at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, May 14
More than 200 coronavirus antibody tests are currently available across the country, according to ABC News.
The test helps identify disease-fighting antibodies in people who are infected but may have mild symptoms or none at all.
Health officials say these tests can help scientists understand how widespread the virus is, how many people come in contact with the virus and don’t get sick, and how long patients remain immune after they recover.
This is important because the immune system could enable people to leave their homes and return to work, empower staff and help health professionals determine whether they are immune.
But on the other hand, a false positive will make someone believe they have immunity to the virus when in reality they don’t.
The study found that four of the nine kits tested yielded inaccurate results for antibodies.
According to ABC News, scientists also found antibody tests using a full vial of blood, but with more accurate results, but hardly any.
Researchers gave four out of ten blood bottle test kits an A +, three in the ‘B range’, and three a grade of F.
Of the 200 kits currently on the market, only 12 have received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
To find out which are authorized. Dr William Morice, a hematology specialist at the Mayo Clinic, says you should ask your doctor directly.
“I would just like to ask the doctor if they could confidently say, ‘Yes, they had COVID disease’ if the test was positive and ” No, they didn’t have the disease ‘if the test was negative,'” he ABC news.
“If they can’t answer that confidently, I’d be a little concerned about the test they used.”
However, an encouraging new study suggests that almost everyone who catches the new coronavirus develops antibodies.
Researchers at Chongqing Medical University in China found that 95 percent of the 285 patients developed both types of immune cells that fight the virus.
The findings “bring much-needed clarity, along with renewed enthusiasm, to efforts to develop and implement large-scale antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2,” Dr. Francis Collins wrote of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Director’s blog on Thursday.