COVID-19 Antibody Testing begins today, April 22, 2020
To the community,
I just wanted to share a few things about antibody testing. As we slowly return to normal many people are asking about antibody testing to see if they are now immune. This is important as many people want to get back to work and return to everyday life without fear.
Point of care tests (tests done in the office in a few minutes) have been very inaccurate. Most physicians have chosen not to do these. There is one POC test from Abbott Labs that has been helpful but the machines needed to run these tests are only available at big medical institutions.
Blood tests for COVID 19 antibodies is now available through Quest Diagnostics. The test produces reliable results, but it too has its shortcomings. The test will accurately tell a physician if you have or had an infection approximately 3 weeks or more.
It may also help if someone who has been asymptomatic but exposed to the virus.
Scientists are studying this, but at this point in time the test does not prove you have immunity although you likely have some protection. Likewise, it doesn’t tell you if the immunity will last. It cannot fully tell us if you are no longer contagious although chances are less likely if the test is positive and you are symptom free for 2 weeks or more.
Testing will become more sophisticated in the coming weeks and physicians will have better information to give to our patients. In the meantime we have decided to perform the antibody test along with the usual nasal swabbing to check for the viral nucleic acids.
To receive this test:
1. You must have been COVID 19 positive and now symptom free for at least the past 2 weeks.
2. You were never sick but potentially exposed to COVID-19.
3. You need testing to return to work.(remember this testing is not an absolute guarantee that you are not contagious but it’s the best solution the medical community can offer at this time)
4. You are a healthcare worker.
The testing will be paired up with a short visit with the provider to explain the details of the testing and to answer questions.
Testing will be available at 3 of our locations. The Red Bank office will continue to serve patients who have illness due to the virus and will not be offering antibody testing at this time.
Please call any of the 3 offices during business hours to schedule an appointment.
To read a recent article on Dr. Mulholland and his fight against COVID-19, click HERE.