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WHO: the presence of antibodies to coronavirus does not mean that a person is immune to COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning about testing for antibodies to coronavirus, which says that there are no serological tests that could show whether a person is immune or protected from reinfection. Writes about this CNBC.

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“Antibody tests will be able to measure this level of serum antibody, but that doesn't mean someone is immune,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit.

So-called serological tests or antibody tests can indicate whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past, is currently asymptomatic or has already recovered.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 560 of the 000 million cases of coronavirus in the world have already recovered. However, experts on infectious diseases say that the total number of cases is probably much higher, because people carry the virus asymptomatically and not all countries conduct mass testing.

In the US, antibody tests have just begun to spread. US President Donald Trump recommended that the states use tests because the country plans to ease some of the strict social distance measures introduced to deal with the pandemic that infected more than 760 people in the United States.

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According to Kerchow, WHO officials found that many countries suggested that antibody tests could "fix what they thought would be a measure of immunity."

“What this test does is measure the level of antibodies in the blood. And antibodies, in turn, are the body's response to infection with the virus, ”she said at a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. "Right now, we have no evidence that using a test can show that a person is immune or protected from re-infection."

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO emergency program, said scientists also still determine the duration of protection that antibodies can give to a person infected with coronavirus.

“No one is sure if a person with antibodies is fully protected from future disease or re-infection,” he said.

“Plus some tests have sensitivity issues,” he added. "They can give a false negative."

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Earlier, representatives of WHO said that not all people who recover from coronavirus have antibodies to fight infection, which raises concerns that patients may not develop immunity after transferring COVID-19.

“Regarding recovery and then re-infection, I believe we have no answers to this question. This is not known now, ”Ryan said.

“Preliminary testing of patients in Shanghai showed that some patients“ did not show the presence of antibodies, ”while others had very many. But the likelihood of re-infection, even in patients with antibodies, is a separate issue, ”said Dr. Kerhove.

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