More Research Needed to Improve COVID Antibody Tests

June 23, 2020

Many of the nation’s leading scientists and clinicians say additional research is needed to determine if and to what extent a positive antibody test means a person may be protected from reinfection with SARS-CoV-2.

More than 300 scientists and clinicians from the federal government, industry and academia gathered for an online workshop to discuss the role of serology testing in understanding and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in May. They have published a report of their conclusions and recommendations on COVID-19 serology studies online in Immunity.

Serology tests for COVID-19 are designed to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While such tests do not diagnose active infection, they can indicate prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 that may have been missed because a person did not experience significant symptoms or access testing while infected.

Workshop attendees emphasized that until additional research data is available, serology tests should not be used as a stand-alone tool to make decisions about personal safety related to SARS-CoV-2 exposure.

See more in a National Institutes of Health press release.