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Who should get a COVID-19 antibody test? Are the results reliable?

Your COVID-19 questions answered

SAN ANTONIO – As more companies are putting antibody tests on the market, Doctor Ruth Berggren with UT Health and the city’s transition task force warns that not all tests are reliable.

“Here in San Antonio it’s very likely that a positive test is no better than a coin toss,” Berggren said. False positives could be detrimental to slowing the spread if people change their behavior and safety precautions based on their antibody test results.

Berggren stresses that false positives are common, therefore a positive result doesn’t mean someone cannot still get sick. Also, Berggren says experts still don’t know how long protection from true antibodies may last.

Some KSAT viewers are asking, “Who should get an antibody test?

Berggren says she fully endorses antibody testing in people who are known to have recovered from the virus.

“People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies at a very high level that could help someone else get over the disease who is critically ill,” Berggren explained.

Recovered COVID-19 patients can donate plasma at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to help develop treatment

Watch Dr. Berggren’s full interview on the News at 9.

Find more answers and ask your own questions on our SAQ page. Watch anchor Steve Spriester ask local leaders your questions weeknights at 6 p.m. on KSAT12 and 9 p.m. on KSAT-TV and KSAT.com. You can also sign up for our free SAQ newsletter to get answers to the most common questions in your inbox.


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