At Med First, we understand the importance of peace of mind and right now, we know that you may have questions surrounding the antibody test for COVID-19. Below are answers to important questions that you should know.
Is getting tested important?
According to the FDA, positive results from validated blood tests can indicate whether a patient has had recent or prior COVID-19 infection. Knowing your antibody status can help you make more informed decisions on returning to work and activities in our communities.
In the short-term, antibody testing can help answer the question, “Was I infected”? The antibody test may also be essential in how individuals go about their daily activity. For this reason, it is very important to discuss the results of your test with your Med First provider.
How accurate is the antibody test?
The accuracy of a lab test is measured in “sensitivity” and “specificity”. Sensitivity is the test’s ability to correctly identify those with antibodies (true positives) and specificity is the test’s ability to identify those without the antibodies (true negatives). According to independent studies from Abbott Labs, Quest Diagnostics and the University of Washington, this test has a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 99.6% making it the most accurate COVID-19 antibody test currently available.
The tests used by Quest have been validated by the FDA in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for COVID-19 antibody Testing. (https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/eua-authorized-serology-test-performance).
Is this a blood test or a swab?
This test requires a blood draw collection from the arm to detect COVID-19 antibodies in the blood.
Is the antibody test covered by Insurance?
Most insurance companies have committed to covering the antibody test under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). Please contact your insurance provider for verification and further information regarding coverage.
How can I schedule an appointment?
Please visit our website: https://www.thinkmedfirst.com/appointments/ to request an appointment online or call your local Med First office.
How long will it take to get my results?
Quest Diagnostics typically provides results to Med First in 1-2 days.
What does it mean to have COVID-19 antibodies?
Antibody tests measure the number of antibodies – proteins made by plasma cells – in the blood. The body’s immune system uses antibodies to neutralize pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. While these tests are commonly used to tell if someone is immune to diseases such as measles or chickenpox, more research needs to be done to determine if a COVID-19 antibody response protects against future infections. Accordingly, it is important to discuss the results of your test with your Med First provider.
If I have COVID-19 antibodies, am I eligible to donate my plasma?
If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because your body fought the infection, your plasma may now contain COVID-19 antibodies. Accordingly, your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease. Currently, COVID-19 convalescent plasma is regulated by the FDA as an investigational product that is being explored as a treatment for administration to patients with COVID-19.
According to Anand Shah, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs of the FDA, “High-quality antibody tests (a type of serological test) can help us understand a person’s and population’s exposure to COVID-19. A person who has been exposed to, and recovered from, COVID-19 will likely have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their blood. These tests may be important for guiding our next steps in the fight against this pandemic, such as by providing information on disease prevalence and the frequency of asymptomatic infection, and also by identifying potential donors of ‘convalescent plasma,’ an approach in which blood plasma containing antibodies from a recovered individual serves as a therapy for an infected patient with severe or immediately life-threatening disease.”
If I do not have COVID-19 antibodies, how can I still help others?
You can consider donating blood! One blood donation can save up to three lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges to the U.S. blood supply. Donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives. Blood is needed every day to provide lifesaving treatments to a variety of patients. You can help ensure that blood continues to be available for patients by finding a blood donor center near you to schedule your donation.