CDC pools diagnostic and antibody tests for coronavirus

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Thursday that it is combining the results of diagnostic tests for coronavirus and antibody tests for coronavirus, reports The Atlantic.

Why is it important: The inclusion of antibody test results distorts data on the prevalence of coronavirus and may overestimate the ability to safely begin the reopening process.

  • A positive COVID-19 test means that a person is currently carrying the coronavirus, while a positive antibody test suggests that the individual has been infected in the past.

What they say: Harvard Global Health Professor Ashish Jha told The Atlantic: “Because antibody tests are for use on the general population, not just symptomatic people, they will, in most cases , a positive percentage rate lower than that of viral tests. “

  • Jha says the CDC combination of the two tests makes their results “uninterpretable” and that the distortion “will drop your positive rate very dramatically”.

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