After hearing for months about serious access issues involving tests that diagnose COVID-19 based on swabs from the nose or throat, Americans are being inundated with reports about promising new tests that look for signs of infection in the blood.
There are high hopes for these antibody tests, which detect proteins that form in blood as part of the body’s immune response to an invading virus. Communities across the U.S. have been rolling out the results of serological surveys that examine blood samples from people who haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19 to see if they were, in fact, previously infected.
The thinking is, if there are blood markers that can detect when people have been infected, such tests should be able to tell us how widely the novel coronavirus has spread. And equally optimistic: those same antibodies could convey immunity to the disease, signaling someone is safe from reinfection and