Thanks, Helene! This is terrific.
Hope all is well on your end of the world!
Attached is what I have been sharing with our providers. This is a 'best-effort-good-faith' summation of my understanding, based on often imperfect literature (many papers do not provide details of the covid-19 test used, other than to say that it is an RT-PCR test, or a combined antibody assay) so it's hard to truly understand test sensitivity and specificity).
Feel free to use, discard, send me suggestions for improvement or just share your thoughts/comments.
Rana Samuel, MD, FCAP
Chief, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service (PALMS, 113)
Medical Review Officer, Federal Drug Free Workplace Program (DFWP)
VA Western New York Healthcare System (VAWNYHS)
3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215
Lead pathologist – VISN 2
Regional Commissioner, Region 2, National Enforcement Office
The laboratory-based, IgG-only, EIA antibody assays have much better specificity, i.e. lower false-positive rate, than described in your document. The one I'm most familiar with, namely the one from Abbott, cites >99% specificity in their package insert (1 out of 186 pre- sera showed a false pos if I remember correctly). Unpublished data from this same assay in use at University of Washington shows similar results.
Handheld rapid serology tests are almost certainly much less specific (and probably less sensitive as well), but there's really no good reason for anyone to be using those devices anyway.
John E. Brush, Jr., M.D., FACCProfessor of MedicineEastern Virginia Medical SchoolSentara Cardiology Specialists844 Kempsville Road, Suite 204Norfolk, VA 23502757-261-0700Cell: 757-477-1990
John E. Brush, Jr., M.D., FACC
Professor of Medicine
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Sentara Cardiology Specialists
844 Kempsville Road, Suite 204
Norfolk, VA 23502