CDC Acknowledges Mixing Up Coronavirus Testing Data

An Osang Healthcare employee works in the company's laboratory near Seoul on May 4, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by SeongJoon Cho

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged Thursday that it is combining the results from viral and antibody COVID-19 tests when reporting the country’s testing totals, despite marked differences between the tests.

Viral tests — commonly referred to as PCR tests as most of them use a process known as polymerase chain reaction — are used by health professionals to determine whether or not a person is currently infected with the disease.  Antibody, or serology, tests serve a different purpose. Unlike viral tests that are taken by nose swab or saliva sample, antibody tests examine a person’s blood to see if their immune system has created antibodies to combat COVID-19. These tests allow doctors to see if someone has previously been exposed to the virus. Serology tests are also less accurate than PCR tests, increasing the chances for a false negative.

The combining of the tests could lead to the skewing of the overall positivity rate of the test, a measurement that is one of the benchmarks used in the reopening guidelines released by the White House and CDC.

Read more at The Hill.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here