Coronavirus antibody tests have ‘really terrible’ accuracy, says US researchers

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May 1, 2020

Of the 12 antibody tests that were studied by the COVID-19 Testing Project, one of the tests gave false positives more than 15% of the time, or in about one out of seven samples. Three other tests gave false positives more than 10% of the time.

“That’s terrible. That’s really terrible,” said Dr. Caryn Bern, one of the authors of the study that looked at the 12 tests.

She said while it’s unrealistic to think all tests will be 100% accurate all the time, their false positive rates should be 5% or lower, or ideally 2% or lower.

The COVID-19 Testing Project is a consortium of researchers and physicians at the University of California San Francisco, the University of California Berkeley, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and the Innovative Genomics Institute.

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