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Dr. David Hicks says to be leery of COVID-19 antibody tests

Birmingham  WBRC logo Birmingham WBRC 7/10/2020 Chasity Maxie
a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Herd Immunity happens when enough people have caught a disease, and have built up antibodies against it. But one of Jefferson County’s top docs is warning people to be leery of that when it comes to COVID-19. © Provided by Birmingham WBRC Herd Immunity happens when enough people have caught a disease, and have built up antibodies against it. But one of Jefferson County’s top docs is warning people to be leery of that when it comes to COVID-19.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Herd Immunity happens when enough people have caught a disease, and have built up antibodies against it.

But one of Jefferson County’s top docs is warning people to be leery of that when it comes to COVID-19.

Jefferson County Deputy Health Officer, Dr. David Hicks, is discouraging people from getting antibody testing, the blood test that tells you if you’ve had past exposure to COVID-19.

“There’s been some really good research studies that have come out now showing that people that have gotten exposed to COVID-19 have what we call a ‘waning immunity.’ So, your immune system responds, it gives you some protection, but it’s limited, and so three months later, the protection may go away,” Dr. Hicks said.

Public health experts have said Herd Immunity could still be a long way off, and might be impossible without a vaccine.

“It looks like the immunity from COVID-19 is not lasting a long time. So, we don’t want people to have a false sense of security. So, you get an antibody test, and you feel, ‘Wow I’m perfectly safe and fine. I can let my guard down,” Dr. Hicks explained.

Dr. Hicks said perhaps in the next few months, there may be a high-quality antibody test.

But he said more testing and studies need to be done, so the results of those high-quality tests can be properly interpreted.

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