A medical researcher testing for antibodies against coronavirus. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Some officials fear that the launch of antibody tests may become as problematic as the U.S.'s diagnostic testing effort, as fears rise about the tests' reliability and availability, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The tests show who has had the virus based on antibodies in their blood, even if they were asymptomatic. These people may have immunity from getting it again, although this is still unproven.

Between the lines: The antibody tests could be useful for gathering information about the true spread of the virus, and for potentially helping high-risk populations go back to work. But in both cases, that's only true if the tests are accurate and reliable.

  • The Food and Drug Administration has taken a loose regulatory approach to the tests, allowing most manufacturers coming on the market to validate their own tests. These tests, some experts warn, may not be high-quality.
  • Federal guidance regarding the tests is confusing, leading to some providers administering the tests who may not be authorized to do so, or misusing the tests to diagnose the coronavirus.
  • The tests also have a high false positive rate, and may run into the same manufacturing problems plaguing diagnostic tests.

The bottom line: Antibody tests are an important tool in our coronavirus response, but they're a long ways from where they need to be.

Go deeper: How coronavirus antibody tests will help

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Jul 28, 2020 - Health

Pfizer beats Wall Street's expectations amid pandemic

Pfizer tallied a 29% profit margin in Q2. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Drug sales at Pfizer dipped 11% in the second quarter, totaling $11.8 billion, but the pharmaceutical giant still reported more than $3.4 billion in net profits, or $0.78 in adjusted earnings per share — 15% above what Wall Street expected.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic only had a marginal effect on Pfizer, as the declining revenue was mostly due to lower sales from drugs that lost their patent protection. The focus is now on Pfizer's and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine candidate, which started its late-stage clinical trial this week.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jul 29, 2020 - Health

Reopening schools is a lose-lose dilemma for many families of color

Reproduced from KFF Health Tracking Poll; Note: Share includes responses for "very/somewhat worried", income is household income; Chart: Axios Visuals

Children of color have the most to lose if schools remain physically closed in the fall. Their families also have the most to lose if schools reopen.

Why it matters: The child care crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic is horrible for parents regardless of their race or income, but Black and Latino communities are bearing the heaviest burden.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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