With the coronavirus sweeping the world, it’s a race to come up with solutions that will kill the virus and help stop its spread. One way we are trying to help at KC Wellness is by offering antibody testing at our Northland location. Antibody testing can assist in many different ways, both personal ways and scientific, and we’ll go into more detail about that and the specifics about COVID-19 antibody testing in this blog.
What is the test?
The coronavirus test we are using, also known as the SARS-CoV-2 AB test, checks for the presence of coronavirus antibodies in the blood. The antibody test is very different from the molecular COVID-19 test, which is done with a nasal swab and checks for the presence of the virus itself.
Antibodies are produced by the immune system at least seven days after infection and remain present long after you have recovered from the disease and are no longer contagious. An antibody test is mainly used to detect whether you have previously been infected with the coronavirus.
Currently, no coronavirus antibody tests in the U.S. market have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, our test is offered through BioMedomics, one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world.
Why should you be tested?
Antibody tests can help show how common COVID-19 is. Once scientists know who has had the virus, they can study how sick it makes most people and what happens if people who’ve had the virus are exposed to it again. When paired with other scientific information, this can help researchers understand who might be immune to the virus. The hope is that people with antibodies to COVID-19 will be able to safely get back to work, and normal life, quicker.
These tests may also help with an experimental treatment for COVID-19 called convalescent plasma, which involves the plasma, or liquid part of your blood, being transfused from someone who has recovered from the virus to someone who is still battling the illness.
Also, being tested could give you some peace of mind if you think you have already had the virus. A positive serologic result indicates that you have likely produced an immune response to the coronavirus. A negative serologic result indicates that you have not developed detectable antibodies at the time of testing. While contingent on a variety of factors, this could be due to testing too early in the course of COVID-19, the absence of exposure to the virus or the lack of an adequate immune response, which can be due to conditions or treatments that suppress immune function. It is possible that a positive test could mean you are immune to COVID-19, but that is not guaranteed.
How is the test done?
First and foremost, you will simply need to call us to set up an appointment. When you come in, we will make sure you are asymptomatic as to not put our staff or other patients at risk. The test itself is simply a blood draw. Our provider will document the timing and the nature of your previous symptoms (if any). Last but not least, we will counsel you on the limitations of the test and interpretation of the results!
We offer two different choices for how you would like to test your blood: our in-office tests that take about 10 – 15 minutes for results or we can send them to the lab and you’ll have your results in about 48 hours.
* Since the test is very new, this may change with time.
Is the test reliable?
The concern about the reliability of COVID-19 antibody tests has been mostly directed at the point of use finger prick test. There have been many testing kits offered for sale to health care professionals by many new companies entering the market. We have chosen to pass on those tests due to the concern of unknown quality control up to this point and instead are using a test from BioMedomics (BD). Although there are no COVID-19 antibody tests on the market that have been approved by the FDA, we have high confidence in BD and the products they offer. For now, we believe this is the best point of use test we have available. In addition to point of use, KC Wellness Center is utilizing LabCorp of America for serum testing (we collect one vial of blood). We believe this test is very reliable, and it is covered by insurance. More information on serum testing can be found on the LabCorp website.
If you have more questions about the antibody test or would like to set up an appointment, visit our page or give us a call at (816) 214-5276!