CityMD allegedly tells 15,000 people they are immune to COVID-19 by mistake
CityMD has acknowledged mistakenly telling 15,000 patients in New York and New Jersey who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies that they are immune to the virus, CNBC reports.
CityMD has been using a patient portal to deliver results to its patients throughout the outbreak of the coronavirus, however, thousands received an inaccurate statement. Spokesperson Matt Gove said it was an editing error that has since been corrected.
The verbiage has since been corrected and CityMD is actively reaching out to its patients to correct the misunderstanding, according to Gove.
Even if asymptomatic patients have had COVID-19, serological, or antibody, tests can indicate if they have been exposed to the virus or not.
“Due to an editing error in the patient portal, some CityMD patients have received incorrect information saying a positive result on the COVID-19 antibody test confers immunity,” Gove said in a statement Friday. “We have removed the incorrect language and will contact all patients to ensure they have the correct information.”
CityMD, which runs over 100 urgent care facilities in New York and New Jersey, says it provides patients with accurate information in both in-person consultations and online.
“CityMD patients getting the COVID-19 antibody test are given several documents ... explaining that a positive result does not mean they are immune to COVID-19,” Gove said. “We apologize for any confusion this has created.”
As of now, there is not enough data to indicate that coronavirus antibodies ensure immunity against the virus, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.
“Four months into this pandemic, we’re not able to say an antibody response means someone is immune,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said last month, adding that this topic is a “very active area of research” and that there are a number of ongoing studies.
Officials and corporations across the US are pouring money into antibody testing in hopes of giving people the confidence to return to work and reopen parts of the economy.
President Donald Trump recommended states use the tests when they begin reopening parts of the state as social distancing measures have been implemented to combat the pandemic.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, says the antibody tests should not be used for individual diagnosis. He says the tests are best used for studies with intentions to determine the severity of the spread throughout the population.
“They shouldn’t be using these tests to make individual decisions for individual patients,” Gottlieb said last month on “Squawk Box.” “They’re good for population-level studies and they’re good maybe in certain professions where there’s a very high exposure to coronavirus, but for the general population an antibody test probably isn’t that helpful.”
Since establishing stricter rules, the FDA ordered manufacturers to submit emergency use authorization forms and data to prove tests work within 10 days or face possible removal. The agency has since stated that it is aware of the concerning number of commercial serology tests being promoted inappropriately, including for diagnostic use, or that are not accurate.