COVID Testing Results

June 8, 2020

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Anchor lead: Testing for Sars-CoV2 may be either for diagnosis or to assess exposure, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Are you being tested for COVID-19? If you’re ill that is likely a test looking for the virus, while if you’re wondering if you’re immune it’s one for proteins in the blood called antibodies. Andy Pekosz, a vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins, says the latter may provide helpful information.

Pekosz: So far everything looks like if you’ve got good neutralizing antibody responses, there really is no evidence so far of you being able to be infected again.  :08

Pekosz notes that sometimes the tests for the virus seems to remain positive for a prolonged period.

Pekosz: Oftentimes those don’t correspond to actual live virus or active virus. They correspond to to just shreds of RNA that are present, they correspond to dead cells  that are still hanging around that your immune system is in the process of cleaning up, so some of these issues with this controversy around reinfection stem from the fact that people are testing positive for some time after infection for these small pieces of RNA.  :24 

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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