Though there are currently 14 coronavirus antibody tests currently on the market, The New York Times has warned its readers not to trust the results, as only three of the 14 have given reliable readings. This means that nearly 80 percent of the antibody tests on the market are prone to incorrect conclusions.
One of the biggest flaws was that many of the tests reported false positives, meaning it suggested that the test-taker had previously contracted COVID-19 but had been asymptomatic. Doctors warned that false-positive results could be extremely dangerous by giving the impression that they are immune to the virus and offering a false sense of security.
Four of the tests produced false-positive rates that ranged from 11 percent to 16 percent. The others were centered around 5 percent. Only one test did not deliver a false-positive.
Though a 5 percent failure rate may seem small, doctors have warned that it is a grave cause for concern in the medical world.
“Those numbers are just unacceptable,” claimed Scott Hensley, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
“If your kit has a three percent false-positive, how do you interpret that? It’s basically impossible,” he added. “If your kit has 14 percent false positive, it’s useless.”
Hensley also lambasted a recent paper that touted the results of the antibody tests.
“The tone of the paper is, ‘Look how good the tests are.’ But I look at these data, and I don’t really see that,” he concluded.
“You don’t want anybody back to work who has a false positive — that’s the last thing you want to do,” echoed Florian Krammer of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
Worse still, a number of tests also claimed not to find coronavirus antibodies, even in patients who had been confirmed with the disease with other tests.
The three most reliable tests out of the 14 missed the COVID-19 antibodies 10 percent of the time. The others had even worse rates.
Nevertheless, many experts interviewed in the piece claimed that the new antibody tests were a move in the right direction, despite their flaws.
Meanwhile, the inconsistency on the antibody tests calls into question a new study released by the state of New York that claimed that as many as 21.2 percent of all city dwellers had been infected with COVID-19, giving hope that much of the population was immune to the disease’s effects.
The news comes on the heels of the World Health Organization releasing its opinion that there is “no evidence” that recovering from COVID-19 gives people immunity from the virus, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.