True or false? Is the new antibody test for COVID-19 the new “hope” for humanity?
Antibodies are proteins in the human body that form part of a person’s immune system against viruses. In our current context we are looking at antibodies against COVID-19.
Generally speaking, antibody tests are performed in two ways. The Qualitative test reveals whether or not we have the antibody against the virus. So, the results will indicate either a “yes” or “no”.
This type of test is done by testing a sample of a person’s secretions collected from a number of places, such as from a person’s nose.
The Quantitative test looks at the amount of the antibody present which is revealed by testing a person’s blood.
Why then, one may ask, aren’t we already performing these tests right away? Well, because there are three big problems standing in our way.
First, the results of the Qualitative test can only tell us if the antibody is or is not present. It does not tell us if we have enough of the antibody to prevent us from contracting the virus again.
Then why don’t we just perform the Quantitative test?
Because even with the Quantitative test, we do not currently have a standard reference for reading and translating the results of the antibodies. This standard reference requires “years” of time and research to establish.
In addition, even if we can overcome this obstacle, we do not know how long the antibodies we discover will stay present in a person’s body, and whether they will be effective in preventing against contracting the virus the next time it comes around and again, for how long.
Second, the quality of current test kits is not yet up to standard.
Last, even the best quality test kits are still revealing false positives, meaning that they reveal that there are antibodies when there are none present.
Using antibody tests then, requires further study and planning, especially on how to manage the large number of results.
Currently, there are also a number of questions emerging along the following lines – “If a person possesses some kind of immunity, and if they are young and strong, should they allow themselves to contract the virus so that they continue to build immunity against it?”
Experts vehemently oppose this line of questioning because “you have no way of knowing how your body will respond after you have contracted the virus. We have already seen many cases of persons who are young and strong that have died not long after contracting the virus.”
We will likely have to monitor this new “hope” and how it develops; while at the same time, we must also continue to work together to prevent the further spread of this disease.
Cr. Doctor Mike, The Wall Street Journal