Limitations of Commercial Antibody Tests

Published by David B. Roth, MD, PhD, on April 29, 2020

April 29 Update: From the Chair

Dear Members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Community,

I have been very impressed with Penn Medicine's strategic response to COVID-19 over the last few weeks and months. While I have received a lot of encouraging and positive responses to these updates, I think it may be best to reduce the frequency a little bit, now that we are settling in for a longer period of recovery and reassessment. I will, of course, keep you apprised of any new developments.

If you have time, I strongly urge you to read the following article. It is a long read, but I think Pathology and Laboratory Medicine people -- and everyone else, for that matter -- should read this. It is the best article I have seen summarizing the many facets of the problem. Ed Yong, the Atlantic science staff writer, explains "why the coronavirus is so confusing" and offers a "guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend."

Another article from our friends at Penn Today looks at antibody testing and discusses the limitations of commercial antibody tests, shows how scientists are assessing the true scale of COVID-19 infections, and summarizes what studies are being done to see who might now be immune to the novel coronavirus.

I also invite you to stay up to date with the latest Penn Medicine COVID-19 related news that includes the Penn Medicine News Blog and press releases on the latest studies and new initiatives underway.

I am truly grateful for the way you have gone above and beyond and for all of the hard work, dedication, courage, and commitment you have all shown in the face of serious adversity. Thank you! It is clear that we need each other more than ever, so please continue to take care of yourselves because we are here for each other.

David Roth

David B. Roth, MD, PhD, is the Simon Flexner Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these blog columns are those of the authors or other attributed individuals and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department, Penn Medicine, or the University of Pennsylvania. Health information is provided for educational purposes and should not be used as a source of medical advice or diagnosis.