Questions surround antibodies and if they can offer protection against COVID-19

Health officials say that there are some questions surrounding antibodies and whether they can protect a person from COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Apr 27, 2020, 10:18 PM

Updated 1,457 days ago

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Health officials say that there are some questions surrounding antibodies and whether they can protect a person from COVID-19.
People who have survived the virus are donating their blood to test for antibodies and that donated blood is being used in some treatments.
There are some at-home tests people can use to see if they have antibodies. The Food and Drug Administration has approved seven such tests. But the agency has warned that false positives or false negatives may occur.
Federal health officials say that the World Health Organization is being very cautious when it comes to antibodies and says that it may not grant a person an “immunity passport” to the virus.
“I think what WHO was saying is we don’t know how long that effective antibody lasts and I think that is a question we have to explore over the next few months and the next few years,” says Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force.
Officials say that COVID-19 is too new and that not enough is known about the virus to say a person will be immune to the illness once they previously have had it.
"We do not know whether or not patients who have these antibodies are still at risk of reinfection with COVID-19,” says Dr. Mary Hayden with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
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But officials say that it is important to research this further as more states are easing restrictions on social distancing. Hair salons, tattoo shops and gyms are opening in Georgia. Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina are also following suit.
States like New Jersey and New York, which have suffered greater numbers of cases and deaths, will be watching to see how this easing of restrictions goes. Officials say that no one wants to see a resurgence and doctors don't want to put any false hope into antibodies.
But despite the questions surrounding effectiveness at protecting people -- some states have decided to test health care workers for antibodies.


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