Should I have an anti-coronavirus antibody test? Experts explain what we know so far

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The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency clearance to a dozen anti-coronavirus antibody tests, and more than 200 others are currently on the market. Authorized company Roche says test is 100% accurate to find antibodies to coronavirus in the blood and 99.8% accurate to exclude them.

Many people who have fallen ill in recent months but have not been tested for COVID-19 have wondered if they have the coronavirus. Many others who did not get sick could also have been infected with the virus and not even known. People from both groups are now looking to antibody tests for possible answers.

What are the antibodies? And how accurate are the tests?

Antibodies are proteins that the body makes to attack a virus. If someone has a certain antibody, it may mean that they have been infected in the past – whether they know it or not. Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medicine physician at Sutter Health in San Francisco, told CBSN that having specific antibodies “means that you have been exposed to or have been vaccinated against this virus” .

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