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Huntsville Hospital offers coronavirus antibody testing, CDC warns against incorrect results

We took this information to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), where officials say the antibody test definitely has its flaws.

Posted: May 27, 2020 9:29 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2020 3:43 PM

WAAY31 learned more information on coronavirus antibody testing and whether or not it can tell if you had the virus in the past. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that results from these types of tests can be wrong up to 50 percent of the time.

We took this information to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), where officials say the antibody test definitely has its flaws.

In a statement, Dr. Karen Landers says:

"Since ADPH remains concerned about the application of antibody testing in terms of determining any immunity for COVID 19, ADPH cannot recommend antibody testing as an indicator of protection from the disease. There is an ongoing evaluation of antibody testing through research. ADPH continues to advise that any positive testing for COVID 19 antibody testing is subject to many limitations in interpretation and does not ensure that persons will not remain susceptible to COVID 19."

Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers says they offer antibody tests only if a physician is consulted and signs off. Spillers says the specific test they use is more accurate than others. 

"If a physician wants to order an antibody testing, we can do that and get the results back fairly quickly. Since it's all run in house, generally it's a same-day result back to the physician office," Spillers said. 

Antibody tests determine if you may have been exposed to the coronavirus or potentially have some type of immunity to it. Spillers expects most of the results from antibody tests to come back negative.

"Most of those will come back that people don't have antibodies. Just statistically speaking, that's where the numbers are going to be," Spillers said. 

Spillers provided WAAY31 with data showcasing the effectiveness of the antibody tests they use. The test will determine a correct result, 99.81 percent of the time. The hospital is seeing a high demand for the test. 

"I think there has been a curiosity about that for a long period of time," Spillers said. "Until we had a test that was reliable, and until we had a methodology where there was a process to get the test and a discussion with a physician, we weren't going to make it available. We did make it available because of consumer demand."

Right now it is unknown how long antibodies last after an infection. Spillers also says if you have the antibodies, you could still be at risk.

"It doesn't mean you are superman or superwoman and you're immune and you can go do it all these things. You could be COVID positive when you have the antibody test, so there's a variety of factors," Spillers said. 

The CDC says because many antibody tests are misleading, they recommend no policies or guidelines are made based upon results. The Alabama Department of Public Health says it has never used antibody tests to make a guideline.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 58225

Reported Deaths: 1183
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7449176
Mobile5349157
Montgomery4732118
Madison290112
Tuscaloosa283754
Marshall213313
Shelby188027
Lee179337
Baldwin149912
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Walker113537
Elmore111825
Dallas103312
Franklin97016
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Chambers69932
Houston6848
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Lauderdale6647
Tallapoosa66272
Butler65931
Calhoun6426
Colbert6138
Escambia56212
Jackson5113
Pike5016
Lowndes49723
Coffee4734
Covington45214
Talladega4517
Dale4283
Barbour4263
Bullock38110
Marengo38111
Hale37523
Chilton3693
Blount3671
Marion35514
Clarke3396
Wilcox3328
Winston3167
Sumter30613
Randolph28610
Monroe2833
Pickens2827
Perry2702
Conecuh2558
Bibb2382
Macon2359
Choctaw22112
Greene2029
Washington1679
Henry1653
Lawrence1590
Crenshaw1433
Cherokee1407
Geneva1100
Lamar961
Clay942
Fayette923
Coosa681
Cleburne621
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 69061

Reported Deaths: 783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby14891233
Davidson14550157
Rutherford394439
Hamilton372139
Sumner218957
Williamson211918
Knox191515
Out of TN177510
Trousdale15165
Wilson133818
Putnam11087
Bradley10966
Unassigned10551
Robertson101013
Sevier9784
Montgomery9067
Tipton7407
Lake6980
Macon6707
Bedford64610
Bledsoe6341
Hamblen5515
Maury5293
Hardeman4804
Madison4092
Fayette4046
Blount3813
Rhea3620
Loudon3532
Dyer3263
Washington3210
McMinn31319
Cheatham3113
Dickson3080
Sullivan2905
Lawrence2626
Cumberland2415
Gibson2371
Anderson2362
Jefferson2191
Lauderdale2184
Smith2022
Warren1831
Cocke1750
Greene1732
Coffee1620
Monroe1626
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Hardin1547
Obion1443
Giles1431
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McNairy1381
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Carter1282
Franklin1273
DeKalb1190
Hickman1180
White1163
Henderson1140
Lincoln1110
Marion1044
Hawkins1032
Roane1000
Chester910
Weakley871
Claiborne860
Overton861
Campbell771
Crockett753
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Cannon650
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Johnson480
Perry450
Decatur440
Meigs400
Morgan371
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