Dr. Anthony Fauci is pumping the brakes on near-term prospects for reliable antibody testing that can conclusively show whether a person is immune to the coronavirus.
“The problem is that these are tests that need to be validated and calibrated, and many of the tests out there don’t do that,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview that aired Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “So even though you hear about companies saying [they’re] flooding the market with these antibody tests, a lot of them are not validated.”
“We still have a way to go with them,” he said.
He said a second important point is that they don’t yet know exactly what the results mean.
Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s a “reasonable” assumption that when you have an antibody you’re protected from infection.
“But that has not been proven for this particular virus. It’s true for other viruses,” he said. “I think it’s a reasonable assumption…but we don’t know how long that protection, if it exists, lasts. Is it one month, three months, six months, a year?”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to start aggressive antibody testing on Monday to try to determine how many of the state’s nearly 20 million residents could be immune.
“That will tell us, for the first time, what percent of the population actually has had the coronavirus and is now at least short-term immune to the virus,” Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday. “This will be the first, true snapshot of what we are really dealing with.”