Many governments place their bets on antibody tests to save their economy and bring life back to normal. According to some politicians, it’s time to bring social distancing measures to an end, and make sure as many people as possible return to their daily routine.
Dozens of labs already produced antibody blood testing kits. Overbuying these kits was thought to help detect whether someone has developed immunity on coronavirus, but as it turns out, a lot of the tests have low accuracy. Misleading results can be more harmful than helpful, so in the end, antibody tests might tell if someone is immune to COVID-19, but not to reinfecting.
According to a study published in Nature, the antibody kits are divided into two groups: tests for home use that show results in 15-30 minutes and lab tests (more accurate) that require trained technicians to process the information. For example, EUROIMMUN (a German biopharmaceutical company) has developed the most advanced antibody lab test that detects SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin A.
Point-of-care tests are less reliable than lab tests because they use smaller blood samples to analyze. The World Health Organization recommends using these tests only for lab purposes. Also, scientists are concerned about the misleading numbers of these kits and advise governments to test the tests before distribution to the general public and hospitals.
Not all COVID-19 infected people developed antibodies. It’s something that science still needs to prove. Politicians and scientists have different points of view. For the first, the antibody kits are a possible “game-changer” while science needs more time and research to come up with reliable antibody test kits.