Antibody tests could have false positives

ATLANTA — Antibody tests for the COVID-19 virus could give false positives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 is new, and what we know about it changes rapidly,” the CDC website states.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized antibody tests for this virus that have been submitted for their review. But these tests are not 100% accurate and some false positive results or false negative results may occur,” the website explains.

“A higher percentage of positive results may be false positives when these tests are used in people who live or work in an area where very few people have had COVID-19,” according to the CDC.

“People who receive positive results on an antibody test but don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 or have not been around someone who may have COVID-19 are not likely to have a current infection. They can continue with normal activities, including work, but still take steps to protect themselves and others,” the CDC website explains.

“People who receive positive results on an antibody test and who are currently or recently sick or have been around someone with COVID-19 should follow CDC recommendations on caring for themselves and protecting others, and when they can be around other people again.”

False positives may result from the presence of antibodies to other viruses.

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