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%.