COVID-19 Antibody Testing – 4 Key Facts

COVID-19 Antibody Testing – 4 Key Facts

Results from six antibody testing sites in the U.S. suggest that current COVID-19 case numbers reflect a severe undercount, according to CDC data released June 26.

The agency is working with commercial laboratories at 10 sites to test blood samples (collected from patients as part of routine care) for COVID-19 antibodies. Labs in Western Washington state, South Florida, New York City, Missouri, Utah and Connecticut shared early results with the CDC, representing samples collected March 23 to May 10.

Four things to know:

1. Western Washington state had the lowest estimated antibody coverage rate at 1.1 percent as of April 1, while New York City had the highest at 6.9 percent.

2. Antibody results from all six sites suggested that actual case counts were six to 24 times higher than reported infections.

3. For example, an estimated 1.85 percent of residents in South Florida had COVID-19 antibodies as of April 10. This figure suggests 117,400 residents had already gotten COVID-19, far more than the 10,500 cases reported in the area during that period.

4. The CDC aims to test about 1,800 samples from 10 sites total every three to four weeks and will update its data as more results become available.

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