Coronavirus: The Efficacy of Antibody Tests
Researchers are hopeful that the Covid-19 antibody tests may help the UK control the pandemic. But the WHO has expressed doubts over the efficacy of the tests. The purpose of these antibody tests is to find out if someone has suffered the coronavirus.
However, experts say that the tests may not prove effective if the sufferer won’t be infected again. Aside from the testing co-ordinator of the UK has issued warnings to avoid buying private tests.
In the UK, the government has spent more than 3.5 million dollars on these experiments but has found no working solution. Therefore, no test has been approved yet. According to Professor John Newton, people should avoid buying the private service unless a working solution is approved.
He further says that this work is productive and a breakthrough is round the corner. The efforts will soon result in a serology test that can help measure the degree of antibodies found in the blood plasma.
Therefore, taking unproven tests is not a good idea yet as they can’t be counted on. The reason is that they can give an inaccurate reading and expose you to a great risk. Once we have found a working test, we will make it available across the country.
In Geneva, Dr Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO representative, expressed her doubts on the rapid serology test because of inadequate evidence. She said that a lot of countries suggest rapid diagnostic serological testing to find out if the immunity of a person is not strong enough.
At the moment, we don’t have strong evidence to suggest that the serological tests can help an individual fight the coronavirus infection. Although these tests can help measure the degree of antibodies in a subject’s body, it doesn’t mean that the person is immune to the virus.
According to Dr Van Kerkhove, it’s a good news that there are many tests to find out more and more but we need to make sure that the tests are valid. This is important to make sure that the rest results are accurate and reliable.
There are many problems with antibody tests. One of the most common problems is that there is no test at the moment that can work at a large scale. Even if there is one, we can’t say that they are free of potential issues. Therefore, further testing is required in order to make sure these tests won’t result in more issues down the road.
There are no guarantees that if you have antibodies against the coronavirus then you are completely immune. You could still be immune to the virus whether it’s partial immunity or complete immunity.
And even if your antibodies do protect you from becoming sick, then you may be able to harbour the virus in your body and pass it to others.
There will be many challenges before immunity passports – when if you pass the antibody test you can go back to life as normal – will be practical.
This is the problem with a virus that has only been around for a couple of months – there is still too much we do not understand.
However, the main appeal of antibody testing is to find out how many people have really been infected with the virus. Apart from this, Dr Michael Ryan, her colleague, said that these tests have a lot of ethical issues as well.
For instance, you may have someone a person who is supposedly seropositive and protected but, in fact, they may be prone to the disease. So, in reality, they may be exposed to the virus.
Aside from this, doctors and nurses expressed their concerns regarding the revised guidelines about the Covid-19. The purpose of these guidelines is to allow doctors in England to reuse personal protective equipment.
Actually, the guidelines were given after the issuance of warnings that many hospitals in England are running out of special outfits worn by doctors to stay protected against the coronavirus. So, with the help of this guidance, doctors and nurses will be able to deal with the problem of shortage of gowns.
In the UK, there are over 840 new deaths caused by the coronavirus, which makes it a total of 14,576 deaths across the country.