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COVID-19: WHO Warns There Is No Evidence That Antibody Tests Can Show Immunity

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned there is no evidence to prove that patients who have recovered from coronavirus have immunity to the disease.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that there is no evidence to prove that patients who have recovered from coronavirus have immunity to the disease. Senior epidemiologists while speaking at a WHO press conference said that it is not known if people who have survived the deadly virus can be infected again. The clarification came as governments across the world are rushing to buy antibody tests that can measure the levels of seroprevalence, antibodies the body uses to fight the virus. 

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Speaking at a WHO press conference in Geneva, Dr Maria van Kerkhov reportedly said that the tests can measure antibodies but that doesn't mean a person is automatically protected. Maria said that these tests can measure the level of antibodies but that does not mean that somebody with antibodies is immune to the disease. 

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According to reports, the United Kingdom has bought 3.5 million serology tests that are used for measuring antibodies in blood plasma. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier described the serology tests as 'game-changer' in the fight against coronavirus. However, Dr. Michael Ryan of WHO said that there are serious ethical issues surrounding serology tests and warned against using it for now. Ryan said that the tests raise ethical issues and could create risk if people falsely believe they have immunity. Countries across the world are trying various methods to contain the spread of coronavirus including blood plasma therapy, prescribing hydroxychloroquine, etc. 

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Coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 2.25 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,54,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Currently, the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom are the most affected countries in the world with a recorded death toll of 14,000 and above.

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(Image Credit: AP)

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