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"Charmed" actress Alyssa Milano says she has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
She twice tested negative for the virus in March, then fell extremely ill in early April. Her symptoms included a headache, fever, fatigue, loss of smell and appetite, and difficulty breathing.
She cautioned followers that antibody tests vary widely in how accurate they are, and delays in testing are still an issue.
Actress Alyssa Milano, of hit TV shows "Charmed" and "Melrose Place," told fans she has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies after an intense illness during which she lost 9 pounds.
The star described her experience on Instagram Wednesday, revealing she twice tested negative for the coronavirus in March, then fell severely sick for 2 weeks in early April.
Posting a picture of herself April 2, at which point, she said, she "basically had every COVID symptom," including headaches, fever, fatigue, loss of smell, disorientation, digestive issues, malaise, and shortness of breath.
"I had never been this kind of sick. Everything hurt ... it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest" she wrote. "I thought I was dying."
Milano said she had taken an antibody test after she recovered in April, and that, too, was negative. She posted of a screenshot of her latest test results which were positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
Why it's possible to test negative for the coronavirus and antibodies
Coronavirus testing can be complex. Viral testing can only determine if a person has an active infection when they are testing — based on the timing, the test could come back negative, but a patient could become sick soon after.
Antibody tests vary widely in how accurate and reliable they are. Antibody test results can also vary based on how recently a person was sick, and how severe their symptoms were, studies suggest. It can take up to three weeks after infection to develop antibodies, according to Mount Sinai, so being tested immediately after being ill could easily result in misleading negative result.
Milano told her followers that the testing system is "flawed, and we don't know the real numbers" and urged them to understand that the virus is not a hoax.
Coronavirus testing in the US continues to be stalled by shortages and delays, making it difficult to accurately assess the current spread of the virus and potentially leading the nation into a false sense of security as cases appear to be on the decline, experts say.
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