Here's everything you need to know about coronavirus antibody tests

Apr 30, 2020
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I have reason to believe that I contracted the virus already and recovered from it, hopefully even built up an immunity. It was the last week of complete freedom in the U.S and out of nowhere I felt my health on the decline. It was kinda sudden but not too severe & I thought initially it was just the flu coming & going. But I know the flu & the typical symptoms and feelings when in it. I had the conjestion and the pressure surrounding my head but not the bodily aches & my sinuses didn't have the heavy onset of mucus. It slowly started as having the pressure in my upper chest and head, then the slight difficulty and occasional pain breathing, and then I felt fatigued and that's when I began to worry.. but just as fast as it came about in a span of three days, had it seemed to just slowly gather itself and leave just as quickly. It didn't even get me to the point of drinking all the fluids and getting all the rest protocol & it didn't even occur to me that it could possibly be the virus due to all the fatal examples that came the following days and weeks. So definately wanna get tested for these antibodies! From conversations with some of my fellow peers, a good amount of us have had this same experience and also different levels.
 
Apr 30, 2020
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This article ignores the problem of distinguishing between COVID-19 antibodies and other antibodies from previous versions coronavirus. I have heard that one of the big problems in antibody testing is distinguishing between the two and while it sounds as if the new test described here addresses the problem, it is not made clear. Furthermore, some virologists have said it is very possible that one of the reasons that many people are asymptomatic or have a mild case is because antibodies or T-cells from a previous version of the coronavirus may be helping them. Are the people testing negative for the new antibodies after being sick also being tested for the older antibodies? It's an important question. In Europe, fields trials are starting in order to determine whether old coronavirus antibodies are helping against the new COVID-19 version. If they are, then a significant percentage of our population has some good working antibodies already.
 
May 2, 2020
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Tia - nice article. There is a slight mistake about midway down when discussing test specificity in the paragraph starting "That false positive ..." The easiest way to think of the two is sensitivity is positive in disease, and specificity is negative in health. So a specificity of 98% means that if you took 100 patients without the disease or condition, 98% of them would have a negative test (true negative) and 2% would have a false positive. Likewise, a test sensitivity of 95% means if you took 100 people who are known to have a disease and did the test, 95% would have a positive result (true positive) and 5% would have a negative result (false negative). Test characteristics alone are ok when looking at how good a test is (higher is better of course) and where the trade off lies - some tests tend to value sensitivity at the expense of specificity, others are the opposite. Some can do a good job at both but those seem to be rarer. But to really use those numbers you need to know disease prevalence or at least a pretest probability for whatever condition you're testing for.
 

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