F.D.A. approves first coronavirus antibody test in U.S.

Posted at 10:23 AM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 10:24:13-04

(WXYZ) — If you had COVID-19 symptoms but couldn’t get tested, there’s a new product that could help you find out if you’ve had the virus. The FDA has given emergency use authorization for an antibody test - and it’s the first for the United States.

I’m super excited about this new test. It should really help us as we continue to fight the coronavirus.

So how does it work? Well, blood samples are taken and sent to authorized labs. There, the test looks for two types of antibodies. immunoglobulin M, made by the body a few days after an infection; and immunoglobulin G, made later to neutralize a particular bug.

If you test positive, it indicates that you’ve either been recently infected or infected with the coronavirus.

This new blood test has been authorized for diagnosis, but, there’s a downside. And that’s because antibodies can take time to develop.

So if you get tested too early, there’s a possibility that you might actually test negative. Whereas the current PCR tests, they’re more likely to detect a new infection by swabbing the nose and throat.

The test would show if you have antibodies, but it wouldn’t tell you how well they are working.

Having said that, it’s likely you’ll have some immunity - there is just no guarantee that you would have full immunity. But this would still be very helpful in determining how many of us have been infected.

It would also be very useful for my colleagues and all health care workers.

Of course, they would still need proper protection as we don’t know with certainty that you're protected. But I feel that it would provide some peace of mind for those working on the front lines.