Covid-19 in Switzerland: Can you trust an antibody test made by an erotic accessories company?

Covid-19 in Switzerland: Can you trust an antibody test made by an erotic accessories company?
Some coronavirus antibody tests are not reliable. Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
A Zurich retailer of erotic products is selling a coronavirus antibody test online. But is this kind of test reliable?

The company, Amorana, says the test allows users to know if they have developed specific antibodies to Covid-19 and therefore may be immune from catching the virus. 

The test, which sells for 79.79 francs, does not involve testing of mucus taken from the nose. Rather, users are asked to take a blood sample at home and send it to the company for analysis.

The site’s co-founder Alan Frei told the Blick newspaper, that the sample is then analysed by a laboratory certified by the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products.

READ MORE: Swiss researchers develop 'coronavirus passports' to show immunity 

However, specialists say this particular test may not be reliable.

According to Didier Trono, professor of virology and genetics at the Lausanne Polytechnic Institute (EPFL), “the risk of false positives is high”. 

He added that a positive result would have a one in two chance of being false. “What is more, we do not know for sure whether the presence of antibodies guarantees protection against re-infection, and even less for how long”. 

In a recent article on The Local Switzerland, Arnaud Chiolero, one of the researchers involved in the Corona Immunitas national study, said that the proportion of Switzerland’s population that has  developed immunity to coronavirus will likely be small. 

He also pointed out, as have other health experts, that there is no certainty at the moment that being infected with Covid-19 offers permanent, or even temporary, immunity against the virus.

“It is likely that after being exposed to the virus, our immune system offers some protection. But we don’t know for sure what the degree and the duration of this protection are”, Cholero said. 

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