By Kristi O’Connor | May 5, 2020 at 11:40 AM EDT – Updated May 5 at 7:12 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Doctors are noticing more patients are asking for coronavirus antibody tests, but they want to make sure patients understand what the results of such tests can tell you.
Some agencies are offering antibody testing without a doctor’s order, but Novant Health Family Physician Dr. Genevieve Brauning says patients should understand what the purpose of an antibody tests is for.
“I just think people need to have a conversation with their doctor about what that tests means doesn’t mean and what we know and don’t know so they don’t spend a lot of money on a test that doesn’t give them information they were expecting,” Dr. Brauning said.
Currently, authorities say antibody tests can only tell a person if they have been exposed to the coronavirus. So even if a patient has been exposed, Brauning says the results should not give them a false sense of security.
“We have no proof that antibodies mean you’re immune. The only thing antibodies can tell you is that you were exposed to coronavirus. It can’t tell you you are immune from coronavirus, it can’t tell you you can’t catch it again, it can’t tell you that you’ll always have antibodies. We don’t know any of that. It can only tell you that you were exposed to it,” Dr. Brauning said.
She encourages patients to have a lengthy conversation with your doctor about what the test results can show you before ordering it.
Meanwhile, the FDA is cracking down on manufacturers of antibody tests to reduce the number of unproven and fraudulent tests on the market. The FDA is requiring manufacturers to submit emergency-use authorization requests to the agency. The applications require manufactures to provide the FDA with evidence that their antibody tests are accurate.
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