NHRMC Will Not Use Antibody Testing Until Reliability Improves

May 14, 2020
The possibility of antibody testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been a recurring question among NHRMC employees. The NHRMC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services has studied all currently available antibody testing for SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) and has determined that the specificity and sensitivity of the testing is not sufficient to warrant its use at NHRMC.

The antibody tests can be effective for showing trends among large groups, but reliance on antibody testing to inform medical decision-making on an individual is not advised.

Until antibody test performance can be better validated, antibody testing results using serology may be more misleading than helpful. Our laboratory team will continue to evaluate serology testing for SARS-CoV-2 and if a suitable antibody test is found, we will consider adding it to our in-house testing menu.  
See Dr. Christopher McKinney and Dr. Kevin McNabb’s memo to providers for a more scientific explanation of why antibody testing is unreliable at this time.