Many of you have been asking me why I am not offering COVID-19 testing kits yet. Well, here’s my answer for you. I’ve added this to the COVID-19 Guidance Document for you here. Keep checking in with it because I am updating it constantly as new information comes out.
Testing: COVID, Antibodies and Apps
There are two main tests around. The first (a swab test usually) is to test if people have COVID-19 at that current moment. You must bear in mind it might not test positive just before or after the virus. The second test is to look for antibodies. This is really crucial in my view because we need to know if people have developed antibodies such as IgM or IgG to the virus as this should confer immunity.
There are two things to know about the antibody tests: first, even though I am being offered them from all over the place, I do not believe they are fully validated yet and I am not going to recommend a test that could be giving you a false positive or negative.
People who think they have immunity will feel they are OK to go out and about again. However, people can still have virus on their hands etc and can still pass it onto others easily. And we don’t know if having antibodies actually does confer immunity or not. The jury is out on that one yet. Some people I believe have not shown any antibodies, others very few and still other people have loads. We’re not sure why. We don’t even know yet if COVID-19 will only provide immune protection for a few days, months, years or whatever – a bit like why we get the flu regularly or some people choose to have vaccines: the immunity doesn’t last in some coronaviruses.
The upshot is that we desperately need info on who has had the virus and who has immunity, but we are not able to test effectively yet to get that data. I know some of my colleagues are offering test kits. I have chosen not to until I am certain we have them properly validated and the results can be relied upon. That may not be for many weeks yet, but my view is a bad test is worse than no test.
In the meantime, we can do something to help. Please use one of the apps daily to give data on how you are – whether you have symptoms or not. This is really important information as the app will help to tell us where hotspots are, how many people might have had or currently have the virus etc. Information is power. So do please add yours to the mix.
It only takes 1 minute a day. Please help the frontline gather more data:
You can read more about it here.
Meantime, you can see the whole COVID-19 Guidance Document here.