What Is A Coronavirus Antibody Test?
Also known As SARS-Cov-2 AB test checks for presence of antibodies to coronavirus in the blood.
Antibody test is very different from molecular covid19 test, which is done with nasal swab, and is checking for presence of the covid-19 virus itself.
Antibodies are produced by immune system approximately 10 days after onset of the infection and remain positive long after the infection. This is why antibody test can be used to detect a past infection with coronavirus.
Who Can Get Covid19 Antibody Test?
Three Rivers Health is offering antibody testing to asymptomatic (not exhibiting any signs or symptoms of active infection) patients only.
If you have mild cough or runny nose or still recovering – we have to wait 7 days after you recover completely in order to get this test.
We cannot accommodate any sick visits for covid19 (sars-cov-2) antibody blood test at this time.
For above mentioned reasons, all patients will need to consult the primary care physician via telemedicine or in-person before they can be considered for covid-19 antibody tests.
Where Is the Covid19 Antibody Test Done?
Three Rivers Health is offering the blood test to asymptomatic patients either in the clinic or at the main hospital’s draw station.
Prior to your blood draw you need a consultation with your physician.
Your doctor will make sure you are 7 days asymptomatic at the time of the blood draw.
Your doctor will also document the timing and nature of your past symptoms (if any).
Last, but not least, your doctor will counsel you on limitation of the test and interpretation of results.
How Long Do Results Take?
Tests are being sent to LabCorp and the turnaround time is 3-5 days.
Since the test is very new, this may change with time, so stay with us as this process evolves.
As with any other test, you will be notified as soon as we have your test results available.
Is It FDA Approved?
The answer is NO!
There are currently NO “FDA approved” SAR-Cov2 antibody tests available.
Several assays have “Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)” which is not the same as “FDA Approved”.
These FDA EUA tests vary in their performance characteristics widely.
Which Antibodies Will Be Tested?
We utilized three SARS-COV-2 antibody bands: IgG, IgM and IgA.
IgG turns positive within 7-20 days of infection and tends to persist for over 6 months (likely years).
IgM turns positive within 7-20 days of infection onset, peaks @ 80 days and fades away within 6 months.
IgA from limited data available we assume it should follow the same course as IgM.
Does Positive Test Mean Immunity?
The answer is NO! Not yet Anyway. First we have to make sure it isn’t falsely positive. the assumption that you cannot get Covid-19 twice is a best scientific guess and not a proven fact yet.
How Do I Pay For A Test?
Medicare and Medicaid state they will pay 100% for the test. Some Commercial Insurances may require a copay. Contact your insurance company for accurate information.
How Do I Get Scheduled For A Test?
As with any other COVID test, we are requiring a doctor’s order to get your test done. Discuss your symptoms and situation with your physician to see if they think antibody testing is necessary.
There is no appointment needed. Our outpatient lab draw times are Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 5:00 pm. OR, you can get drawn at the clinic if your PCP has that capability.
This blood test is currently of utmost importance in estimating the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general US population. By testing the presence of antibodies, we will have a better understanding of approximately what percentage of the population has already been SARS-Cov2 infected and has recovered. This information is vital to our public for both prediction of herd immunity development, as well as validation and interpretation of future serological tests.
“Antibody testing cannot be used to confirm if someone currently is infected, but it gives us clues that someone has been infected with the virus. This sometimes can mean the patient is protected for being re-infected, but at this moment we don’t know if this is necessarily true to COVID-19, as the issue is still being researched.”– Dr. Rodrigues – Three Rivers Health Infectious Disease Specialist