Robert Gallo, a specialist in AIDS research, in a lab in 1984. Bettmann Archive via Getty Images file

Dr. Robert Gallo talked to NBC News about what’s needed in an antibody test for the coronavirus.

April 14, 2020

By Lauren Dunn and Sara G. Miller

The race is on to develop and distribute antibody tests for the coronavirus, driven by the idea that these tests will inform individuals when they are immune to the virus and can return to their normal lives.

This isn’t the first time there’s been an urgent need for an antibody test. In the 1980s, it was a different crisis: HIV/AIDS. Unlike the coronavirus, a positive antibody test for HIV means that a person is currently infected with the virus, meaning the test could be used to diagnose. (See link for article)



Great read which helps clarify antibody testing – what it can do and what it can’t.

Key take-aways on why antibody testing is important:

  • helps us know the extent of the epidemic by following its spread
  • better able to predict the future by finding out whether the antibodies are correlating with doing anything
Gallo cautions us; however, that antibody testing has limitations:
  • current antibody testing can’t distinguish between protective antibodies and infectious antibodies, so even people with positive antibodies can be very infectious
  • there can be cross-reactions to other coronaviruses which would give a false positive (the person shows antibodies for COVID-19 but really is infected with another milder coronavirus)
Gallo states that for an antibody test to be effective it needs specificity and sensitivity for the best accuracy.

Important quote:

I’d like to say there are antibodies and there are antibodies and there are antibodies. Some are nothing at all. Some are protective indicators. And sometimes, though not so commonly, they can make matters worse.

He also disagrees with those who state that if you develop antibodies you won’t get sick again because it takes very specific kinds of antibodies at a high enough titer to be truly protected.



This article helped clarify a number of things for me. I’ve wondered if you are exposed to and develop antibodies for COVID-19 if like in the case of Chicken Pox, for instance, you typically develop life-long immunity OR if like the seasonal flu which has many different strains, you can continue to get various deviations of the flu year after year.  I’ve heard arguments for both scenarios.

Time will answer this question, but I have profound faith in the human body – either way.

Gallo’s information about antibody testing is similar to antibody testing for Lyme:  Excerpt:

The 1994 serodiagnostic testing guidelines predated a full understanding of key B. burgdorferi antigens and have a number of shortcomings. These serologic tests cannot distinguish active infection, past infection, or reinfection.

Also, in this article, Dr. Waisbren, a LLMD who practiced in Wisconsin but is no longer with us:

About testing he states that the Western Blot appears to be the most positive finding in clinical LD, but…“setting arbitrary level of antibodies to diagnose a disease that has not been amenable to Koch’s postulates seems open to question.  By the same token, ignoring antibody results unless they meet arbitrary levels seems suspect.  The vast majority of patients in this series showed some WB antibody exposure, but many did not meet the arbitrary limits set….in our present state of knowledge, the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease is a clinical one.  Many of the patients in this series have suffered serious ‘hurts’ when they have been told that they could not have LD because their WB did not meet arbitrary limits.”

Another issue for COVID-19 testing is the fact our own CDC wouldn’t accept an already proven test months ago because it insisted upon having its own.  It STILL does not have an accurate test to this day. This article shows that there are dozens of antibody tests on the market never vetted by the FDA:

To read more about the CDC’s insistence upon having it’s own test:

The reason for this is to control all the parameters so they can go on to create test kits, drugs, and vaccines – all for profit – making them direct competitors to the private sector. This has been going on for decades. In the case for Lyme – the CDC bad-mouths any private testing lab – and has literally called them “home-brewed,” which is not an endearing term when you want accuracy – yet these CLIA-certified labs are more accurate than current CDC two-tiered testing. So, when you read about testing, please understand there’s a long back-story of collusion, fraud, profitteering, and slander to anyone outside the CDC.


For more on COVID-19 Testing: