Coronavirus and serological tests, the immunologist Mantovani: “That’s why they don’t say if we are protected and for how long”


From Sardinia to Trentino Alto Adige they ask for an immunity license for tourists. But does it make sense to do serological tests to visitors to find out if they developed Covid-19 immunity?
I have been saying this for some time and the World Health Organization has also supported it: these tests for the detection of antibodies for Sars-CoV 2 are a valuable tool for assessing the prevalence and spread of the virus and in some clinical conditions, but they do not give a Immunity license To date, we still do not know whether the presence of a certain amount of antibodies is the indicator of an immune response that ensures protection against infection.

Are circulating serological tests reliable?
The State and the Lombardy Region have chosen two valid tests in my opinion. Remember that for serological information on infectious diseases, high levels of specificity and sensitivity (over 97%) are required to avoid false positives and false negatives as much as possible. A hundred tests are on the market today, but many, perhaps the majority, have not been rigorously validated. The British government bought and threw away 35 million that proved unreliable. Regardless of the quality of the test, a person with the presumption of being immune can be induced to decide not to use the mask or not to respect social distancing: instead he could get sick and still carry the virus around.

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