AMA cautions use of coronavirus antibody tests to determine "immunity"
Antibody tests that identify those who have previously contracted the coronavirus should not be used to determine immunity, the American Medical Association cautioned in a Thursday report.
The big picture: Antibody tests help medical workers find out how widespread the coronavirus is in a given community, which New York state has pursued in recent weeks. These tests detect the antibodies the body produces when it fights off a coronavirus infection, but scientists don't know whether that translates into immunity, or how long such immunity might last.
What they're saying: The FDA "does not automatically independently verify performance" of antibody tests after granting them emergency authorization, the AMA writes — and tests that are not commercially marketed do not require FDA authorization.
- Antibody tests should not be used as justification for returning for work or discontinuing social distancing practices, the AMA says.
Where it stands: Roughly 12 commercial antibody tests have received emergency authorization by the FDA, while over 120 others are currently on the market, the AMA writes.