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Testing for COVID-19: antibody versus viral

2 min read
Roche, the worlds largest biotech company based in Switzerland provided a high capacity test for COVID-19 that was recently approved by the FDA.
Using swab samples from the nose and throat, the test identifies the presence of the coronavirus.
But that’s testing for the virus, which would be present in anyone who is currently infected. Currently, testing is performed on those who have symptoms of COVID-19.
The missing piece to the Corona puzzle is those people who were infected with the virus, did not have major symptoms and recovered. These people would go undetected.
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But an antibody test would identify those who were  exposed and recovered. Such a test would be able to tell if a person was infected in the past because antibodies are retained by the body, after the sickness has passed.
And this could have direct impact on the initiative of “cancel everything”. For those who already have antibodies, the question arises: would these people be able to go to events, bars and restaurants? And how about schools?
If so, it could be meaningful for these businesses that are undoubtedly going through significant economic impact.
And repeated antibody testing could show how long immunity can last. For any vaccine that’s ultimately developed, this is critical information.