Guidelines, resources, & more

About Antibody Testing


CDC Evaluating Commercial Tests

The Center for Disease Control is currently evaluating the performance and reliability of commercially manufactured antibody tests in collaboration with numerous government agencies. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use of several antibody tests.

For more information, see here:

COVID-19 Resources, Guidelines & More

Center for Disease Control

Review the CDCs advice for preventing the spread of COVID-19

United States Food & Drug Administration

FAQs on Diagnostic Testing for SARS-CoV-2

The White House

Official White House Coronavirus Guidelines

COVID-19 Tracking & Data

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

State of Balance

Sensitivity & Specificity

It’s important to recognize that sensitivity and specificity exist in a state of balance. Increased sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify people who have the disease — usually comes at the expense of reduced specificity (meaning more false-positives).  Likewise, high specificity — when a test does a good job of ruling out people who don’t have the disease – usually means that the test has lower sensitivity (more false-negatives).

Airport security offers a good example of how these tradeoffs play out in practice. To ensure that truly dangerous items like weapons cannot be brought onboard an aircraft, scanners at a security checkpoint may also alarm for harmless items like belt buckles, watches, and jewelry. The scanner prioritizes sensitivity and will flag almost anything that seems like it could be dangerous. But that means it also has low specificity and is prone to false alarms; a positive result is much more likely to be a shampoo bottle than it is an explosive device.

“Generally speaking, “a test with a sensitivity and specificity above 90% would be considered to have good diagnostic performance”

Sensitivity measures how often a test correctly generates a positive result for people who have the condition that’s being tested for (also known as the “true positive” rate). A test that’s highly sensitive will flag almost everyone who has the disease and not generate many false-negative results. (Example: a test with 90% sensitivity will correctly return a positive result for 90% of people who have the disease, but will return a negative result — a false-negative — for 10% of the people who have the disease and should have tested positive.)

Specificity measures a test’s ability to correctly generate a negative result for people who don’t have the condition that’s being tested for (also known as the “true negative” rate). A high-specificity test will correctly rule out almost everyone who doesn’t have the disease and won’t generate many false-positive results. (Example: a test with 90% specificity will correctly return a negative result for 90% of people who don’t have the disease, but will return a positive result — a false-positive — for 10% of the people who don’t have the disease and should have tested negative.)



The real-time charts and data tables on this webpage are powered by Domo’s COVID-19 Tracker Visualizations.

COVID-19 data displayed on this webpage is gathered every 10 minutes from credible sources, including WHOCDCJohns Hopkins UniversityWorldometerIHMEThe COVID Tracking ProjectFREDThe New York Times, the Wikipedia compilation of world testingSafeGraphFoursquareThumbtack, and data from AWS Data Exchange.

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