Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. public health official on infectious diseases, on Monday cautioned that testing for antibodies to the coronavirus had not yet been perfected adding that immunity was still being studied.
Fauci tempered expectations of a quick return to economic normality, speaking on broadcaster ABC, saying the virus had to be contained first.
“If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back.
“Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically, is not going to happen,” he said.
The comments are comYashim the federal government and some states are preparing to relax certain shutdowns and stay-at-home orders imposed to stem contagion.
The U.S. is also facing a persistent shortage of tests for coronavirus, with current capacity at just a fraction of what experts are recommending, though efforts are under way, including in the private sector, to roll out more kits with faster turnaround for results.
Fauci said antibody testing for the coronavirus was still in its infancy, raising concerns that it may be difficult to determine who is really immune.
Moreover, Fauci cautioned, as he had in the past, that immunity to the new coronavirus was still not proven, even if it is assumed.
“We don’t know how long that protection, if it exists, lasts,’’ Fauci said.
The antibody tests still need to be validated and calibrated.
Fauci has in the past floated the idea of issuing certificates of immunity, once it is possible, to help facilitate relaxing shutdown guidelines. (dpa/ NAN)