What is the COVID-19 Antibody Test & How Does It Work?
The COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test that can detect the presence of antibodies formed to combat SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus. Antibodies are produced after the body has combated and beat an infection and are detectable between 10-14 days after an infection has healed. The test helps determine the number of individuals who have been exposed to the virus for a more accurate case count. Patients who undergo antibody testing must be asymptomatic for at least 14 days before testing.
Which antibody test do you use?
AFC Urgent Care Conshohocken uses the LabCorp IcG Antibody Test, which is performed by taking a blood draw.
Isn’t there a rapid test available?
The staff at AFC Urgent Care Conshohocken has conducted research and came to the conclusion that at this time, many rapid tests available to detect antibodies are not as reliable as the results provided by LabCorp on standard tests. In order to make sure our patients are getting the best possible information, we have chosen to work with LabCorp for more accurate results.
Who should get tested?
The antibody test is recommended for patients at least fourteen days after they begin to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. Patients can either take a diagnostic test or not be previously tested to be eligible for antibody testing. Regardless of whether or not the patient has had the swab test, they must be symptom- and fever-free for at least 14 days prior to antibody testing.
What is the benefit of getting tested for COVID-19 antibodies?
Getting tested for antibodies helps local and state health departments determine a more accurate number of patients exposed to the virus as well as who has had the virus, determining a more accurate case count. Getting tested for the antibodies also informs the patient if they have had the infection, especially if you had the virus early in the spring when testing was not widely available. If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, you will be able to donate blood or plasma to patients currently ill with COVID-19 to help fight off their infection.
What do my antibody test results mean?
A positive antibody test result indicates that your body is producing the antibody against the virus and you have likely had the infection. COVID-19 may not show any symptoms in patients, so you may not have even realized you were sick. You may have up to three months of immunity against reinfection with COVID-19. If you have positive results, continue following health and safety recommendations including frequent hand washing, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask or protective face covering over your nose and mouth in public areas.
A negative antibody test result indicates that you have not been infected and likely not exposed to COVID-19. If you have had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the past 21 days, wait at least 7-14 days to be tested again. Because it can take up to 14 days to develop antibodies, a second test may produce a more accurate result.
An equivocal antibody test result means that your sample has an immune response, but it is unclear whether it is a response against COVID-19 or another virus under the coronavirus umbrella, such as the cold or flu. Your physician will likely recommend repeat testing to yield a clearer, more reliable result.
How much is the COVID-19 antibody test?
There is no cost associated with the COVID-19 antibody test for uninsured and insured patients.
How much is the TeleCare pre-screening prior to the antibody test?
For most insured patients, the telemedicine screening is entirely free. Some insurance carriers will cover the TeleCare visit, but you will be subject to your standard urgent care copay or deductible. If you are unsure, our staff will be able to check your benefits before you schedule your telemedicine screening.
Uninsured patients will incur a cost of $99 for the telemedicine screening. However, payments by uninsured patients will be refunded to you by the federal government to the extent it follows through on the promise to reimburse physicians for any COVID-19 related in-office or telemedicine screenings for uninsured patients.
How long does it take to get results from an antibody test?
Results are typically available in 1-3 days depending on lab capacity.