Santa Barbara
West Goleta – Pacific Oaks Rd
Goleta – Hollister Ave
Carpinteria

Novel coronavirus antibody testing is not ready for prime time

Right about now, we all want an antibody test and we want that test to be positive!  We would love to know that the really bad cold we had in February was from the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. A reliable positive test would establish our immunity– at least for a while. But for now, it’s clear that novel coronavirus antibody testing is not ready for prime time.

We have been receiving lots of inquiries about antibody tests, so here is what I can tell you:

Although a few of the more than 100 antibody tests being developed in this country have received FDA approval, even the approved tests have an unacceptably high false-positive rate. This means that people might be led to believe they are immune to the novel coronavirus, when in fact the test may not be good enough to distinguish antibodies from an old viral exposure from antibodies to COVID-19.

Click here to read a great article on the NYT which explains some more.

Bottom line:  Even if one of the currently available tests is read as positive, there is no strong guarantee that you are immune and not susceptible to a life-threatening infection. For now, it’s clear that novel coronavirus antibody testing is not ready for prime time

We are as eager as you are for an antibody test with good accuracy to become available.  Keep an eye on our website.  As soon as we can recommend a test with confidence, we will post that information. But for now, and until the antibody tests are good enough, we cannot recommend them.

Douglas R. Jackson, M.D.

Medical Director
Jackson Medical Group

Santa Barbara
West Goleta – Pacific Oaks Rd
Goleta – Hollister Ave
Carpinteria