Available in Texas: Testing for COVID-19 Coronavirus
Jul 19, 2020
Remedy is now offering rapid testing for COVID-19 with results in an hour, as well as antibody testing by a blood draw in cases of suspected previous infection.
This can be performed at our Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio locations, as well as other cities with our lab partners.
What types of testing are available?
Remedy offers different types of testing based on patient history and symptoms, including:
- Rapid antigen testing, for active infection, with same day results.
- PCR swab testing, for active infection, with a lab send off.
- Antibody testing, by blood draw, with lab send off
Why does Remedy offer different tests?
There are three types of tests available for COVID-19: polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen, and antibody (serology) testing. PCR and antigen tests detect whether a person is currently infected, and serology detects whether a person had an infection in the past.
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 months. This is what PCR testing does, and is considered by many to be the "gold standard."
Antigen testing is slightly different, although sample collection is obtained the same way, by nasal swab. Antigen tests look for pieces of
proteins that make up the SARSCoV-2 virus to locate evidence of active infection. Antigen testing can sometimes be less sensitive than PCR tests.
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. 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?
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, most often performed at our drive thru locations.
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.
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 individuals paying out of pocket, lab costs will vary based on lab partner and are typically less than $100.
Is this test FDA approved?
Remedy is currently offering PCR tests in partnership with nationally-recognized, high-complexity laboratories. The antigen test is performed on site with same day turnaround, using the Quidel Sofia test.
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?
What if I need a test for travel, work or school reasons?
If testing is being sought for travel purposes, patients should consult the regulatory body or government site of the airline/transportation company and location to which they plan on traveling for testing requirements. For employment, school or other mandated reasons, please consult the issuing authority for their respective guidelines.
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.
*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.