Testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3325In May, the UK government announced that antibody testing should be offered to anyone having their blood taken who wants to know whether they have been infected with SARS-CoV-2

What you need to know

  • Positive antibodies show evidence of previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus

  • Antibody testing should be undertaken at least two weeks after onset of symptoms

  • The sensitivity and specificity of antibody tests vary over time and results should be interpreted in the context of clinical history

  • Antibody testing might have a useful role in diagnosing covid-19 in patients with late presentation, prolonged symptoms, or negative results from reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests

  • Evidence is currently insufficient to know whether individuals with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies have protective immunity

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