The latest coronavirus antibody test is a lot more accurate

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Several coronavirus antibody tests have been authorized for public use, but so far their accuracy has been iffy. A new test created by Roche and cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use today, May 3rd, significantly ups the standard.

Roche announced that its test is 100% accurate at detecting coronavirus antibodies and 99.8% accurate at ruling out the presence of those antibodies, meaning only one in 500 tests will get a false positive. Antibody tests use blood samples to assess whether a person had been previously infected, so they’re useful to determine the true spread of coronavirus.

In comparison, the first test the FDA approved for emergency use, created by Cellex, is 93.8% accurate at detecting coronavirus antibodies (this is known as sensitivity), and 95.6% accurate at ruling out the presence of antibodies (known as specificity.) Meanwhile, Premier Biotech’s test has sensitivity of 80.3% and specificity of 99.5%.

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‘Immunity Passports’ could create a new category of privilege

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Being infected with the virus could come with more freedom

 A new type of test uses a small blood sample to look for the presence of coronavirus antibodies.

In one version of the future, a new type of test that measures antibodies would help restore a sense of normalcy for some people even as the coronavirus pandemic drags on. With the right antibodies, some may be immune to the virus, unable to get sick or spread the virus to others. Widespread testing for these antibodies could pave the way for so-called immunity certificates, which would allow people who have already been exposed to the virus to return to public life.

But the hope may be dashed by significant scientific and ethical concerns. For starters, diagnostic testing is already extremely limited in the United States, to say nothing of the more experimental antibody testing. Experts worry that antibody testing isn’t guaranteed to prove immunity. And if it does, the resulting immunity passports could be used to discriminate against untested people and those who aren’t immune — in the workplace, for example. That could lead people to intentionally expose themselves to Covid-19, banking on the hope that they’ll survive and earn the documentation they need to reenter society.

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Chinese scientists develop new test that detects antibodies against Coronavirus in just 10 minutes

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Scientists from several institutions in Guangzhou, China, have developed a new test that is similar to a pregnancy test, that detects antibodies against COVID-19

The WHO’s war cry against the novel coronavirus pandemic was “test, test, test.” Such is the importance of extensive testing in a rapidly worsening global health crisis where time is not money but life. In such a scenario, accurate and quick testing methods are essential for tackling the spread of COVID-19. Providing hope in this regard, researchers from China have developed a test that can detect antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in just 10 minutes.

The new test is a result of the collaboration between scientists from several institutions in Guangzhou, China, and builds on a testing technique known as a lateral flow immunoassay (LFA). An example of such a test is a home pregnancy test. It is based on the detection of the antibody, Immunoglobulin G (IgG), produced by the body to counter the coronavirus.

Expressing confidence over the new testing technique, the authors wrote in the study, “We expect this assay to be highly useful for helping to contain the COVID-19 outbreak by allowing timely diagnosis through early detection of SARS-CoV-2.”

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