The current tests for coronavirus infection and post-recovery immunity are both imperfect, a top scientific advisory panel told the White House this week.
A committee of the National Academy of Sciences sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday, explaining that the coronavirus test sometimes misses positive cases. One study missed 16 cases out of 51 coronavirus patients.
Tests based on relatively new CRISPR technology might be more accurate, but those tests are not currently available to patients, said the letter.
There is also uncertainty about whether people develop immunity after recovering from the coronavirus.
In a separate letter this week, scientists said that even if someone does develop antibodies against the coronavirus, it’s unclear for how long they’ll be immune or if they’ll be immune at all.
And antibody tests -- which help determine whether someone has recovered and can go back to work -- are often of poor quality.
Results from antibody tests “should be viewed as suspect until rigorous controls are performed and performance characteristics described, as antibody detection methods can vary considerably, and most so far have not described well-standardized controls,” the scientists wrote.