How can we interpret SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results?


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has raced to understand and accurately diagnose infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. Today, hundreds of commercial antibody tests are on the market despite often lacking proper validation and with unsatisfactory sensitivity and/or specificity. In addition, many questions related to the humoral response remain unresolved, although research is carried out at an unprecedented speed. Despite the shortcomings, serological assays have an important part to play in combating the pandemic by aiding in diagnosis and sero-epidemiological studies. However, careful attention must be paid to the application of serology and the interpretation of serological data-especially in low prevalence regions, both at an individual and at a population level. In this article, we argue that serological results are often misinterpreted, and in the eagerness to be first, methodological rigor is often taking a backseat.

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