Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Practice Practice Pointer

Testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 08 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3325

Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Rapid Response:

Re: Testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

Dear Editor

Guesstimates in, guesstimates out.

In the case of Covid-19, the pre-test probability is a guesstimate, meaning interpreting the result of any test, positive or negative, is no better than a guesstimate. Why, therefore, are the experts encouraging the govt to spend vast sums of public money on widespread testing? Is this really a PR exercise on behalf of both the experts and the govt to be seen to be doing something based on science in their response to the pandemic?

The only predictable result of widespread testing will be to create a bonanza for the manufacturers of the tests Better, and far cheaper, to stick to traditional methods of dealing with pandemics, ie social distancing, and isolation of those with symptoms.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 2020
adam schiff
Newbury, Berks