Among the diagnostic tests and antibodies … black market, unreliable results and deferred “immunity”


Between the statistics of the number of injuries and deaths, and the methods of treatment and immunization, the experts stand until now when methods of diagnosing the emerging corona virus in order to determine the number of infections and to develop plans and measures to control its spread with more than 150 tests to determine it, but what are the available tests? How accurate is it?

How do tests work?

Two types of tests emerged in the diagnosis of corona virus infection, the first relies on diagnostic tests “PCR” PCR, which is the most common, and the test determines whether a person is currently infected with the virus, by searching for the genetic material for him in saliva samples or swabs that Collected from patients’ throats or their noses, the result takes days to appear, and the presence of the genetic material of the virus or genome means that the result is positive and therefore the person is infected with Coronavirus.

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However, the lack of a genetic factor in the sample does not necessarily mean that a person does not carry the virus, as the virus may already be in his body but in other parts of which no samples were taken.

The other type of test is an antibody test or a serological test “ELISA”, which is conducted through a blood test and does not take time to obtain the result, which reaches only half an hour. Instead of searching for the virus itself, antibodies or proteins are detected in the blood that Our bodies evolve to fight the virus, as this type of test gives a history of HIV infection.

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Some antibodies remain in the blood for a long time after the virus has passed, protecting us from infection in the future. However, so far, it has not been proven that the antibody test is completely reliable.

Scientists are still trying to figure out the amount of antibodies that give people immunity to the new coronavirus, once this is done, patients with “a certain level of antibody” can be considered safe from infection.

Negative results and wrong tests

With the emergence of a glimmer of hope for accurate diagnosis of the virus, in preparation for obtaining a passport that could be considered immune to coronavirus infection again, many countries have been deceived by medical companies that sold defective sets of tests, such as the United States and Britain, which bought 3.5 million body tests. Countermeasures, but it has not yet been proven that this type of test is reliable enough for its widespread use, and Oxford University researchers reveal that two million sets of antibody tests intended for use at home have produced unreliable results.

black market

British government advisers have drawn attention to the risk of a black market for antibody testing devices through commercial establishments selling unapproved tests, or monopolizing approved tests through private institutions at prices that make them out of reach for most people, or who are trying to purchase a fake test result to obtain a passport Travel immunity.

Immunity Passport

The researchers do not see hope that the immunity passport will be available soon, as the World Health Organization warned two weeks ago that the detection of antibodies alone should not serve as a basis for an “immunity passport” because scientists do not know how much antibody will protect people from infection again.

To get there, we need to collect a lot of data over time from a lot of people who have been infected and have developed antibodies, track who has been infected again, and who is still immune.

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