SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC4) — Health departments, research labs and medical teams around the globe are racing to learn everything they can about COVID-19 to save lives.
There’s been a lot of talk about testing for antibodies.
ABC4’s Medical Correspondent Surae Chinn has been looking into this and joins us now to explain
The key may lie in research surrounding antibodies and our level of immunity if any. But tests have been flawed.
There is one doctor from Utah, and his team, who have sifted through different antibody tests and may have found one of the most effective tests for antibodies and explains why.
You may know him as Dr. Redd, a chiropractic physician at Red River Health and Wellness Center. But don’t let the title fool you. He doesn’t do chiropractic adjustments in the traditional sense but rather detects auto-immune diseases in patients.
‘I have one of the largest autoimmune clinics in the U.S. We basically focus on autoimmunity. Antibody testing, for the last 10 years, has been a thing we focused a lot of attention on.’
Then, it is no wonder why Dr. Redd has been putting his efforts in testing for COVID-19 antibodies.
He soon found during his research there were problems with antibody test results across the country.
‘where these antibody tests are flawed is they’re not 100% specific to COVID-19 and that’s where you get a lot of false positives.’
in response, the CDC and FDA, this week, are recommending a two-test approach.
‘I don’t think it’s necessary,’ Dr. Redd says.
Dr. Redd says through his antibody research of more than 2500 patients from Utah who were not randomized, he says there’s one test he feels strongly about.
‘we’ve done two testing for the last 2 months. We’ve had individuals where we’ve questioned their results and Abbott was right every single time.’
Redd says the widely used FDA approved antibody test called Abbot Architect Assay is accurate, and believes gives fewer false positives.
‘this has the highest specificity and highest sensitivity in the market place. Their specificity is above 99.9%. The majority would agree this test is one of the leading antibody tests in the country as we speak.’
The problem, he says, is there are 12 other FDA Emergency Use Authorized tests also on the FDA approved list. Although Redd hasn’t tested all of them, he wants the public to beware.
‘just because it received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA doesn’t mean it will be accurate.’
He says ask questions, does the test have high sensitivity and specificity?
Dr. Redd has been working with leading medical directors across the country who are currently in COVID-19 studies, including ARUP, one of the largest research medical labs in the country. ARUP is conducting several COVID-19 studies at the University of Utah.
Marc Couturier, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at ARUP Laboratories says ‘several antibody tests compare well, suggesting there may be more than just one test that are reliable for detecting COVID-19 exposure. We are learning and updating our understanding of how these tests aid in detecting COVID-19 infections on a daily basis.
Health experts say Utah is not seeing a lot of positive cases compared to the rest of the country.
Couturier says (Dr. Redd) ‘his study may provide us a snapshot of the relative rate of exposure in our community
and it may indicate that we have not seen the biggest wave of COVID-19 in Utah.
Bottom line, Dr. Redd says let’s not be complacent.
‘I’m not saying lets freak out and go into hiding. But we can be overly cautious with people who are vulnerable. When it come to my elderly patients or my loved ones over 65 I’m going to wear a mask wash hands take extra caution when interacting with those individuals.’
It can seem things are changing hour by hour when it comes to COVID-19 and antibodies.
Dr. Redd said during his interview that another test is showing promise but more research needs to be done. He says still, it’s always good to ask questions about tests your are taking.
Read Dr. Redd‘s full antibody study here.