The Coronavirus pandemic has the entire world on lockdown. But there may be somewhat of good news for many. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is testing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in asymptotic people using serological tests. The serological tests include a slight finger-prick blood test to see if someone has the virus by identifying antibodies.
Widespread antibody testing for #coronavirus would identify those who are immune, who then could:
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) April 1, 2020
This is different from the conventional PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) nasal swab test. Throughout the Philadelphia region, this process is used to identify if someone has COVID-19. But serological tests can help identify people, especially the health care workers who can go back to work. It can also determine who does not have the antibodies. Because they can be the first in line for immunization. Sadly this vaccine will not be available for almost another year. Healthcare companies are seeking government clearance for home test kits which allow the people to take a photo of their blood and send it to the doctors via phone.
“”We still have a lot to learn about how immunity works and how accurate these tests are,” Bachynski said.
Given the unknowns, experts say the best approach, regardless of whether you think you’ve been infected, is to follow social distancing measures” https://t.co/i8vNo3a6BC
— Dr Kathleen Bachynski (@bachyns) April 6, 2020
Dr. Kathleen Bachynski, an assistant professor in public health at Muhlenberg College, says ” We surely want to know if people have antibodies to provide them immunity from COVID-19″.
Can you go back to work, if you are immune to Coronavirus?
Well frankly-speaking, No. Infectious disease experts claim that a serological test is not the most foolproof detection mechanism. Because if you have contacted the disease today, you will not test positive. The majority of the COVID-19 cases only test positive after about 14 days. People also test positive if they have antibodies against different strains of coronaviruses, which causes the common cold.
Some countries like Germany are giving “passes” to people who test positive for Coronavirus antibodies which will allow them to go back to work. But these are premature steps. There is no research to back how long these antibodies last. Also, it does not say if these antibody people are still contagious. “We still have a lot to learn about how accurate these tests are”, says Dr. Bachynski.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.