Authorities urge not to undergo antibody tests at private facilities

Authorities have warned against taking antibody tests offered by private parties.

A circular issued by the Health Ministry on Wednesday said PCR tests are conducted to identify COVID-19 antibodies under the National Surveillance and Response System.The test can only be carried out at facilities that meet certain standards under the National Laboratory System, and must be conducted by specially trained technicians. Any laboratories other than those at the hospitals under the Health Ministry’s administration must be registered with the ministry to carry out the tests, said the ministry.

The circular further noted that the antibody test being carried out by private parties is not the test that is listed in the National Surveillance and Response system. However, several members of the public choose to undergo the tests, it noted.

The ministry warned that such actions could obstruct the work being done by authorities to identify positive cases of COVID-19 and tracing their contact and isolating them. Encouraging the public to refrain from undergoing such tests, the Health Ministry said if the tests are being done for research purposes, a request has to be made at the ministry’s research council.

Antibody tests your blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again.