Available in Texas: Antibody Testing for COVID-19 Coronavirus
Apr 24, 2020
Do you currently have symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus and need a test?
Think you had coronavirus a few weeks ago or longer, but couldn't get tested then?
Remedy is now offering antibody testing by a blood draw, with results in 3-5 days. This can be performed at our Austin, Dallas / Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio locations, and may also be ordered in other cities with our lab partners.
How is this testing different from the nasal swab?
When looking for evidence of infection, there are two possible methods. One method is by looking for the virus’s RNA. The virus’s RNA is its genetic code (like our DNA). In the case of COVID-19, the nasal swab test looks for a segment of genetic code from the virus. This remains the optimal form of testing for cases of recent, active infection, and is a test that Remedy has been performing for weeks.
Another way of looking for infection is to look for antibodies. Antibodies are produced by our body’s immune system in response to an infection. Presence of the antibodies is an indirect marker of infection either currently or in the past.
It's important to remember that it takes time for the body to develop antibodies. In the first 5-10 days of symptoms, only 50% of COVID-19 patients test positive for antibodies. Basically, a coin toss. Waiting two weeks from symptom onset ensures that the test is more than 95% accurate.
Can I be tested with an antibody test if I currently have COVID-19 symptoms?
Though antibodies are created as soon as an infection hits the body, the current available antibody test available does not test for these early antibodies. Consequently, we do not recommend antibody testing if you are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and your provider may instead recommend an alternate form of testing, like a PCR (nasal swab) designed to detect active infection.
What if I no longer have symptoms?
Absolutely. If you've fully recovered from symptoms suggestive of a respiratory infection, we're happy to perform a test for exposure. In order to achieve the most accurate results, we'll work to determine the appropriate amount of time has passed.
What does this cost? What about insurance?
Getting a test with Remedy has two simple parts - a quick, 24/7 video visit with a board-certified provider, and then the actual test itself, performed at our drive thru location(s).
Remedy is in-network with most major insurers + Medicare, most of which have publicly committed covering the cost evaluations for suspected COVID-19 coronavirus infection.
Additionally, in partnership with the CARES act, evaluations for the uninsured will also be covered. There will be no out of pocket expenses for your Remedy visit.
Uninsured patients use coupon code "CARES" at booking checkout.
Our lab partners are in-network with most insurers as well, meaning most tests are also partially or fully covered by insurance, with little or no out of pocket expense. If you're unsure, you should check with your insurer. For uninsured patients, lab costs will vary based on lab partner and are typically between $49-69.
Is this test FDA approved?
Remedy is currently offering tests produced by Abbott Laboratories and PerkinElmer Inc.'s Euroimmun. These tests are being performed by Quest Diagnostics. The FDA has allowed for use of these tests with an official Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Official FDA language below*
How can I get a test?
If I'm feeling better and test shows positive, should I assume I'm now immune and am safer in public?
This is a massive question, and one that we're still in the early stages of discovery on as it relates to immunity. You should absolutely discuss this with your provider, as information changes daily and each case can be unique. The best practice in light of "viral shedding" (contagiousness during period in which you have symptoms) has been to wait 10-14 days before resuming interpersonal contact. A positive test for antibodies against COVID-19 indicates that some element of immunity against the virus exists. Because we continue to learn more about this virus every day, we still recommend exercising caution because we cannot guarantee against a future infection after another exposure.
Can I take this test to see if I can donate blood?
Various blood banks across the country have different criteria for this, and it's changing as we learn more. For now, we can't definitively say yes, but will update this as we learn more. You may check with your preferred blood donation partner beforehand for their criteria.
*This test is being reviewed by the FDA. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in those who have been in contact with the virus. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection in these individuals. Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43, or 229E.