Richard Harris

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During the coronavirus pandemic, many scientists who usually have nothing to do with viruses or infectious disease are turning their attention to COVID-19. For example, one wildlife biologist is raising questions about the accuracy of tests that detect the coronavirus.

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South Korea's Center for Disease Control has reassuring news about people with COVID-19 who test positive for the coronavirus weeks after their symptoms have resolved.

Health officials there studied 285 patients who tested negative for the virus after recovering, but weeks later tested positive again. The question — in this and similar situations — is whether a positive test in this circumstance means that these people can still spread the virus.

Last month the White House issued guidelines suggesting a way to reduce the number of false positive results in antibody tests: Run two tests. But that strategy has not yet been validated for coronavirus testing. And the details matter.

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Most people infected with the novel coronavirus develop antibodies in response.

But scientists don't know whether people who have been exposed to the coronavirus will be immune for life, as is usually the case for the measles, or if the disease will return again and again, like the common cold.

The Food and Drug Administration is stiffening its rules to counteract what some have called a Wild West of antibody testing for the coronavirus.

These tests are designed to identify people who have been previously exposed to the virus. The FDA said more than 250 developers have been bringing products to the market in the past few weeks.

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For months, public health experts have believed the first COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. happened on February 26 in the Seattle area. Now we're learning the coronavirus was killing Americans even sooner than that.

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