COVID antibody tests are–wait for it–potentially inaccurate and not widely available

COVID-19 tests will be crucial to helping us determine when it’s safe to leave our homes.

What tests are out there?

One type of test determines if someone is infected with COVID-19. Let’s call this our “COVID test.”

A different test determines if someone has the antibodies–or is immune–to COVID-19. Let’s call this our “antibody test.”

Let’s start with the COVID test

COVID testing is finally ramping up

Faster tests are coming into the market and private companies like Quest and LabCorp are now running thousands of tests a day. But as the virus spread, infecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, demand for testing has overwhelmed many labs and testing sites. Delays in getting results and limited access to tests continues. In addition, chemicals and cotton swabs used to run the tests are also in short supply in many areas.

Okay, now let’s talk antibodies test

Antibody testing can determine who has an immunity and where new hot spots of infection appear. But concerns have been raised that antibody tests that indicate exposure–and immunity–may be both inaccurate and not widely available.

The bungled rollout of coronavirus tests has probably been the biggest failure in the battle against the pandemic. How did the US fail so badly? Who is responsible? Check out the timeline of events here, and you decide.

The Obama administration produced in-depth reports on lessons-learned from Ebola, and how they should inform pandemic preparations for the future. In order to check on the government’s progress, in 2017, officials from the Obama administration along with officials from the Trump administration together ran a mock pandemic event.

The training event revealed: the government was underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated in the face of a pandemic.

Read the report here.

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