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Coronavirus Antibody Tests Surrounded By Doubt, Worry Over Accuracy

(CBSDFW.COM) - Back in January, University of Texas at Austin professor Michael Webber​ attended the Consumer ​Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Shortly after, he started feeling very sick. ​​

"The symptoms that I had matched the ​description in the ​news around mid-January ​of the coronavirus that was just emerging," he said.

He assumed he had the virus, but had no proof.​ ​Then a few months later, COVID-19 ​antibodies tests hit the market. Webber took the finger prick test and tested positive, ​​but in recent weeks there's been ​concern some tests are flawed. ​

"I like everybody am worried ​about the accuracy of the test and that there ​are risks ​of false negatives and false positives," he said. "You want to know about it's specificity ​and it's accuracy and it's precision and that kind of thing. ​I'm a guy who likes ​data as a professor ​so I certainly want to know how good the test are."

Right now, there are more than 200 tests are ​on the market, ​but so far only the 12 have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

  • Cellex Inc.
  • Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.
  • Chembio Diagnostic System, Inc.
  • Mount Sinai Laboratory
  • Autobio Diagnostics Co. Ltd.
  • Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.
  • DiaSorin Inc.
  • Abbott Laboratories Inc.
  • Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.
  • Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health
  • Roche Diagnostics

The FDA is now ​tightening the reins, ordering all test manufacturers​ to submit ​data proving their products are accurate. ​

"They're trying to be ​a little bit more cautious in saying okay ​this test is out there and that's okay because you ​at least alerted us, but now you ​need to make sure that it's accurate ​and you need to send us this data," University of North Texas Health Science Center professor Dr. Crystal Howell said.

"The test that they ​chose for me looks like one of the better ones," Webber said.

He wonders how long his immunity will last. ​

"While the antibody test does give me one ​more piece of data, one ​more piece of information ​and some peace of mind that I have ​the antibodies, it actually doesn't answer all the questions," ​Webber said. "There's still a lot of precautions I have to take."

He's ​waiting and watching to see what happens before ​returning to his regular routine. ​

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