By Brent Smith
This is a real departure for me, as it is not my usual fight against the left or an oppressive government.
However, it’s not that far off, as it is a battle to educate the ignorant, which is what we conservatives strive to do.
And let’s face it. COVID-19 has become as big a political problem for freedom lovers as a medical issue.
This all began with my personal quest to be administered a COVID-19 serology test. I have yet to find anyone to administer the test.
As you may (or may not) know, there are two types of coronavirus tests – a virology test and a serology test. The virology test is to determine whether you currently have the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The serology test is to determine whether you have had the virus and gotten over it. This is also known as an antibody test, or immunity test.
It is much more involved than merely shoving a giant Q-Tip in your brain, so relatively few facilities do it.
My desire is to find out whether I have the antibodies that effectively cause one to become immuned from re-contracting COVID-19 and passing it to others.
At my annual physical, just last week, I asked my doctor whether she knew of such a facility. Her response was the impetus for this article.
She told me that she didn’t know of one offhand, but that it didn’t matter as the tests were at best, 50% reliable, so it wasn’t worth my time.
I knew from the research I’ve done already that this was wrong but didn’t wish to argue the point.
But, with further research, I will here.
As an aside, as it typically takes one to three weeks after infection to develop antibodies, if you suspect you’ve had coronavirus, wait a few weeks before any serology test.
Now let’s get into this.
Accuracy is essential in antibody testing, and my doctor was correct about one thing. Just back in April, antibody tests were no more than 50-55% accurate.
In other words, there was about a 50/50 chance of having either a false positive or false negative result, which is why my doctor told me they were pretty much useless.
However, since April, great strides had been made to drastically increase testing accuracy, which my doctor is evidently didn’t know.
An accurate antibody test must correctly identify someone who has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and truly has developed antibodies to it – this is known as test sensitivity, or a true positive rate.
Ruling out someone who has not been exposed to the virus and has not developed antibodies is known as test specificity, or a true negative rate.
But detecting antibodies isn’t enough. While the immune system may generate a range of antibodies that bind to different parts of a virus, only some antibodies are able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 virus.
To create a more accurate test, researchers used part of the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike called the receptor binding domain (RBD), which binds to a particular protein on human cells in order to infect them.
So a test needs to be able to indicate the presence of neutralizing antibodies.
This is what the older tests were unable to do and what the new ones can.
New RBD-based tests strongly correlate with levels of neutralizing antibodies in the samples.
In other words, these new tests can detect these essential neutralizing antibodies. Why is this important?
Two reasons. First, because these neutralizing antibodies are what prevent one from re-contraction of this specific virus. Second, the immunity developed to COVID-19 in your body due to the presence of neutralizing antibodies can also be used to help treat patients who have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The treatment is called convalescent plasma therapy.
Doctors can separate plasma, one of the blood components that contain these antibodies, and administer it to people whose bodies are currently fighting the infectious disease. This can help their immune systems reject the pathogen more efficiently. Pretty slick, eh?
Currently, there are many serology tests that are remarkably accurate and reliable. And remember – it comes down to two things – sensitivity and specificity.
Here are a few of the most reliable, highly accurate and FDA approved serology/antibody tests.
The Roche Pharmaceuticals “Elecsys” test is 100% reliable for a positive presence (sensitivity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and 99.8% reliable for a negative presence (specificity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
The Abbott Pharmaceuticals “Architect” test is 100% reliable for a positive presence (sensitivity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and 99.6% reliable for a negative presence (specificity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
The two-step “ELISA” test is 92.5% reliable for a positive presence (sensitivity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and 100% reliable for a negative presence (specificity) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
And now you know more than many medical professionals. But I still can’t find where to get tested!