So You Think You Want A COVID-19 Antibody Test
We are hearing a lot about testing in the media these days concerning COVID-19. It is all pretty confusing and difficult to keep straight. Different and new tests are being introduced every day making it pretty difficult to know what to do. The following are answers to questions patients have frequently asked. However, the best source of information about your specific condition is your doctor.
What are these new antibody tests anyway?
These tests look for the presence of certain proteins called antibodies in the blood of individuals who have developed a response to the COVID-19 virus. They are intended for people who have had COVID-19 symptoms or for people who may have developed these antibodies without knowing that they had the virus. These tests are not intended to diagnose whether or not someone has an active infection.
How accurate are these tests?
Unfortunately, these tests have not been approved or reviewed by the FDA so we have to rely on the companies for this information. It is a buyer beware marketplace. Also, these tests have to be collected at the correct time because we all produce these antibodies at different points in our infection response, in different amounts or maybe not at all. A positive result does not always mean the past presence of COVID -19 infection and a negative result can occur even when we have had an infection.
Not as simple as a yes/no result. Thus scheduling a telehealth visit with your doctor can help you address your need for the test as well as help you understand what it means.
If I have antibodies, I am immune and can’t get COVID-19 again, right?
We don’t know the answer to that question yet; all the test shows is the presence or absence of antibodies. What that means for future risk of re-infection awaits to be seen. This virus and its disease are so new that it would be foolish to state that one is safe if antibodies are present. At the present time, no one should change their use of social distancing, masks, or handwashing and cleaning regimen on the result of a positive antibody test.
Does Piedmont HealthCare provide antibody testing?
This testing is provided through our physician’s offices and central laboratory facilities. But there are many factors that need to be considered prior to a test being ordered in your specific situation. For these concerns as well as any other concerns regarding your health, you can schedule a telehealth visit with your doctor.
Are the antibody tests covered by insurance?
These tests and visits surrounding their use are covered by insurance and government agencies the same way any other is care is covered. Remember “covered” does not mean paid for without any out of pocket expense.
We want to let you know that we are here for you in this crisis and are prioritizing your health and safety.
Hopefully, this has answered some of your questions regarding this issue. But it cannot be emphasized too much that the best source of information to your unique situation is a conversation/visit with your trusted physician. They can help you navigate this very confusing minefield of conflicting information.
All of our offices and facilities have instituted appropriate measures to keep you and our employees safe and well. You can be confident that your safety is our primary concern if you need to come to our facilities.