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An initiative started by scientists at both UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley to study antibody test kits may help doctors and public health officials decide which tests are reliable enough for public use.

Currently, there are more than 120 antibody test kits available, and only a handful of these antibody test kits have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

When the body is infected with a virus like SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, the body produces an antibody called IgM in an effort to neutralize the virus generally. Later, as IgM levels go down, the body begins to increase production of a different antibody called IgG for more specific targeting. As the United States moves toward opening its economy, reliable testing of antibodies like these can help determine who has already been infected with COVID-19.

Each of the 12 test kits studied thus far was used against about 300 blood samples, some with SARS-Cov-2 and some without. Results from the first dozen tests reveals that testing works best at least two weeks or more after infection. Some kits also have high false positive rates that need to be examined further. The team has submitted these findings for publication and has expanded the number of tests they are evaluating. They are also sampling blood from patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to see how long antibodies stay in the body.

"Several of our tests had specificities over 98 percent, which is critical for reopening society," said Patrick Hsu, Ph.D., an assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley, in a press release about the project. Specificity is a measure of how good a test distinguishes infected people from those who are not. A high specificity means a low false positive rate.

The researchers said that additional critical information is still required before assuming that antibody tests can safely predict protection from future infections.

Read more about the project.

Watch our latest HealthDay Now as we dive into the latest details on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Mary Beth Son, Program Director of Boston Children's Hospital's Rheumatology Program, and Brian Padla, father of James Padla, who has MIS-C.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HealthDay Nows and other videos on our YouTube channel.


HD Live! Videos

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look at the global COVID-19 vaccination rollout and how the United States rollout compares.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Ran Balicer of Clalit Health Services and Dr. Arnold Monto of University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

UPDATE 1/26/21: Since our HD Live! interview with CEO Andrei Doroshin, the Philadelphia Health Department has severed its ties with the organization. The nonprofit has changed its status to a for-profit entity.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look at Philly Fighting Covid, a nonprofit organization run by graduate students from Drexel University that aims to help with mass COVID-19 vaccination in Philadelphia.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Andrei Doroshin, founder of Philly Fighting Covid.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a deep dive into the vaccine rollout across the country.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a deep dive into the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines, including the rollout process, potential side effects, supply and distribution.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and one of the physicians on the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! as we take a look back and a look ahead at COVID-19 and its impact on the United States and its healthcare workers.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. David Shulkin, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, ex-CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and an accomplished healthcare executive, and Dr. Joel Zivot, anesthesiologist and clinician at Emory University Hospital ICU.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch our latest HD Live! with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the latest on COVID-19, including the vaccines, the infection rates and the future.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Our latest HD Live! is a conference wrap-up of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, American Heart Association President-Elect, for a summary of the highlights of the AHA Scientific Sessions 2020.

Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

Our latest HD Live! discussion is on how healthcare in America could be impacted by a Trump or Biden victory.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan, and Brian Blase, who served as a healthcare adviser to President Trump from 2017-2019 and is now president and CEO of Blase Policy Strategies.

Watch our in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.