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The Role of Antibody Testing for SARS-CoV-2: Is There One?


The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) brought with it rapid development of both molecular and serologic assays for identification of COVID-19 infections. While Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) is required for clinical application of SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests, submission for EUA is currently a voluntary process for manufacturers of serologic assays. The absence of FDA oversight of serologic tests is concerning, given that the commercially available serologic assays are highly variable, differing in their format, the antibody class detected, the targeted antigen and the acceptable specimen types. An added complication is the lack of a clear understanding for how such assays should be utilized and what the reported results ultimately indicate, or perhaps more importantly, what they do not indicate. Here, we provide a brief summary of the performance of a number of serologic assays reported in the literature, comment on what we do and do not know regarding our immune response to SARS-CoV-2, and provide a number of scenarios for which serologic testing will play a role in during our global response to this pandemic. Copyright © 2020 Theel et al.