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San Antonio health officials warn against antibody testing

The city says taking no test at all is better than taking an inaccurate one.

SAN ANTONIO — The City of San Antonio sent a warning to residents at its daily briefing Wednesday evening against sales of so-called coronavirus test kits.

Metro Health says some antibody tests may not be helping the fight here in San Antonio. The tests are being offered for sale as a way to know if you've had the coronavirus, and generally represent unproven alternatives to official testing being held throughout the city. 

Metro Health says there are 90 antibody tests on the market, but only four of them are approved by the FDA.

Dawn Emerick, Metro Health director, explained there are two types of specimen collection.

The nasal swab – done via private testing, mobile centers and hospitals – is the viral test. It indicates if someone currently has the virus, and that data goes to Metro Health.

The antibody test that's being advertised, meanwhile, consists of finger-prick test that will test an individual's blood. 

Some tests claim to show if you've recovered from COVID-19 without knowing it. According to Emerick, health leaders are still not sure if these are working or not.

In addition, Metro Health doesn't get the data collected by these tests to know what's going on with coronavirus in San Antonio.

“The concern that we have from a public health system (perspective) is that these 90 that are on the market that are not being regulated are being sold in our community right now, they're being marketed right now in our community," she said.

Emerick said that without reliable data from labs, it's hard to get a picture of what's going on with the virus's spread and impact int he Alamo City. She says there's one site offering antibody testing here in San Antonio for $150, though she wasn't able to tell us if the test they're using is FDA-approved.

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