CDC Says Virus Antibody Tests Can Be Inaccurate Nearly Half The Time

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CDC Says Virus Antibody Tests Can Be Inaccurate Nearly Half The Time
The agency is recommending that antibody tests with "high specificity" be used to reduce the chance of false positive results.
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The CDC says COVID-19 antibody tests could be inaccurate nearly half the time.

The agency says the tests, also known as serological tests, help determine whether an individual was ever infected — even if they didn't show symptoms — and therefore may have some resistance to COVID-19. But the tests could have significant margins of error.  

According to new guidance from the CDC, there is a likelihood for "relatively more" false positive antibody test results, even in areas that have been hit hard by the virus, because the prevalence of the antibody "is expected to be low."

As a result, the CDC says test results should not be used to make decisions about people returning to work or about grouping people in settings like schools, dormitories or correctional facilities. Furthermore, the agency says the tests should "not be used to determine immune status in individuals until the presence, durability and duration of immunity is established."

The CDC is recommending that antibody tests with "high specificity" be used to reduce the chance of false positive results.

Contains footage from CNN