The coronavirus pandemic has affected most aspects of daily life both in the U.S. and around the world. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the U.S. alone has seen over 3,952,273 cases of COVID-19, along with over 142,000 deaths since 7/24/20. While some states have gained control of the numbers, we are still seeing a surge of new cases in many parts of the country.
As states move into various phases of reopening, and people start getting back to offices and school, taking a COVID-19 antibody test, also known as serology testing, is encouraged.
UNDERSTANDING THE ANTIBODY TEST.
COVID-19 antibody testing is a blood test to determine if you’ve had a past infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is designed to detect the body’s natural immune response to the virus. If you’ve been previously infected with a virus, your immune system will produce antibodies or proteins in response to this infection.
If previously infected with COVID-19, it can take two to three weeks even after recovery to develop enough antibodies to be detected in an antibody test, so it’s important not to be tested too soon. False-negative results can happen if the blood sample is collected too quickly after infection. Although these antibodies might provide some immunity to the COVID-19 virus, there’s currently not enough evidence to know how long these antibodies last or whether past infection with the virus protects you from getting another infection.
There are, however, several reasons for getting an antibody test.
THE ADVANTAGES OF ANTIBODY TESTING.
Experts say that knowing your antibody status is important, as it may help in managing your own health, safely returning to work, and interacting/reconnecting with family, friends and co-workers.
Perhaps most important is the fact that getting tested for the antibodies and understanding your status can play a critical role in the fight against the virus. Scientists are currently conducting hundreds of serosurveys, where the blood of a group of people is tested to see if they are carrying antibodies against COVID-19. The CDC is testing as many as 325,000 blood donor samples from 25 cities to determine who has been exposed as a way of better understanding the spread of the virus. Independent serosurveys have also been completed in Los Angeles and are now being conducted in New York.
A recent study found that one of every five New York City residents tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, suggesting to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and infectious disease experts that COVID-19 may have spread more widely than known. They also believe that accurate antibody testing serves as a critical tool to help determine when and how to send people back to work, school, etc.
“The testing also can tell you the infection rate in the population — where it’s higher, where it’s lower — to inform you on a reopening strategy,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Then when you start reopening, you can watch that infection rate to see if it’s going up and if it’s going up, slow down.”
Experts also reiterate that while the role of antibodies in preventing COVID-19 disease has yet to be established, previously conducted antibody testing for other respiratory illnesses (SARS, flu) have provided insight into immunity to future diseases. There is a general consensus among infectious disease experts that antibodies likely offer some level of protection, however to what extent or for how long is still to be determined.
COVID-19 TESTING NOW AVAILABLE AT PROGRESSIVE DIAGNOSTICS.
Progressive Diagnostics, one of the largest CLIA certified high-complexity laboratories in New England, is proud to offer highly advanced COVID-19 antibody testing for anyone interested in knowing their status. Unlike other options, our testing provides the following key benefits:
- Accuracy: The accuracy of antibody testing has been questioned, but unlike other options, our tests are extremely precise. Our blood test is one of the most accurate with a sensitivity (true positive rate) of 100% and a specificity (true negative rate) of 97.4%.
- Efficiency: Our speed is unmatched. We provide extremely fast results through a HIPAA compliant online portal within 24 hours, unlike other facilities which may take 10-14+ days.
- Interactivity: We offer a completely confidential telehealth platform for consultation with medical professionals to help individuals understand their test results.
- Convenience: We have the capability of setting up a mobile testing site for employees. This opportunity could be extremely convenient and practical for many companies with employees going back into the office. We are also actively supporting the community by offering antibody testing at Patient Service Centers and mobile health fairs.
To conduct an antibody test for COVID-19, a Progressive Diagnostics health care professional will take a blood sample, usually by a finger prick or by drawing blood from a vein in your arm. The sample is then tested in a lab to determine whether you’ve developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. Antibody testing for COVID-19 may be done if:
- You’ve experienced symptoms in the past, but weren’t tested
- You’re about to have a medical procedure done in a hospital or clinic, especially if you’ve had a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test in the past
- You’ve had a COVID-19 infection in the past and want to donate plasma, a part of your blood that contains antibodies that can help treat others who have severe cases of COVID-19
WHAT TO KNOW & DO NEXT.
Infectious disease specialists and other professionals are continuing to conduct research, so if you have had COVID-19 or test positive for the antibodies, you should not assume that you’re protected from getting the virus again. Continue to take preventive measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing to protect yourself and others.
Appointments for the Progressive Diagnostics antibody test can be made using the following link: https://calendly.com/progressivediagnostics/antibody.
For further information about COVID-19 testing, visit our website www.progressive-diagnostics.com or on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.htm