They are the words no one wants to hear: positive for coronavirus. And it was not the result Inside Edition anchor Deborah Norville expected when she recently took a COVID-19 antibody test.
Norville said she took the antibody test, which consists of drawing a small amount of blood, at the same time as her daughter who she thought may have contracted the virus after attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The city has since become a COVID-19 hotspot.
Her daughter's test came back positive for the antibody, indicating that she previously had the coronavirus.
But Norville was told that her test indicated she had the virus and was actively infectious, prompting her to self-quarantine in her guest room and wipe down everything in her home with alcohol. Her primary care doctor advised her to get a nasal swab test, which is the only FDA-approved method to diagnose COVID-19.
Medical staff came up to her car window to administer the nasal swab. Norville anxiously waited for two days for the official results, which came back negative.
There are only four FDA-approved tests for detecting antibodies, and the one Norville was given wasn't one of them. The four approved tests are made by Cellex, Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and Mount Sinai Laboratory.
"It's crucial that you ask your doctor which test they are using to make sure it's FDA-approved," said Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “And if you do take the antibodies test, be aware that it can only tell you if you've had the disease and recovered from it, and not if you currently have it."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic also says that even if you do have the antibodies, it doesn't necessarily mean you're protected from future infection.