Antibody tests: They are more important than we thought

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Abstract

Antibody testing is a non-pharmaceutical intervention – not recognized so far in the literature – to prevent COVID-19 contagion. I show this in a simple economic model of an epidemic in which agents choose social activity under health state uncertainty. In the model, susceptible and asymptomatic agents are more socially active when they think they might be immune. And this increased activity escalates infections, deaths, and welfare losses. Antibody testing, however, prevents this escalation by revealing that those agents are not immune. Through this mechanism, I find that antibody testing prevents about 12% of COVID-19 related deaths within 12 months.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102485
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of mathematical economics
Early online date06 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Feb 2021

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