After Your Telemedicine Consultation. Your order for blood testing for COVID-19 antibodies will be sent to you as well as to Quest Diagnostics. Simply schedule an appointment with them at your convenience for your blood draw at a location near you. Remember, you cannot have any symptoms for at least the last 10 days and you must wear a face mask upon presentation for testing. Below is more information on antibody blood testing keeping in mind that every test has limitations:
Quest Diagnostics just changed their policy on charging their patients for serology antibody testing deferring payment in anticipation of payment by insurance or the federal government. Formerly, they were charging a fee for their blood (serology) laboratory test to detect your antibodies to COVID-19 under the FDA’s Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019, with plans to submit for FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Currently, a doctor’s order is still required and test results should be interpreted in connection with other factors, such as symptoms and history, and results signify that antibodies are present, but protective immunity based on these results has yet to be established in clinical trials. Antibody tests by themselves are of limited value in the immediate diagnosis of a patient where COVID-19 infection is suspected. “As the FDA has indicated, antibody testing has the potential to help healthcare professionals identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who have developed an immune response,” said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Quest Diagnostics. “In addition, FDA has indicated that antibody testing can help identify those who could contribute a part of their blood, called convalescent plasma, which may provide an avenue for possible treatment for those who are seriously ill from the coronavirus.” See: https://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2020-04-21-Quest-Diagnostics-Begins-to-Perform-COVID-19-Antibody-Testing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration:*
Serological tests measure the amount of antibodies or proteins present in the blood when the body is responding to a specific infection, like COVID-19. In other words, the test detects the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself. In the early days of an infection when the body’s immune response is still building, antibodies may not be detected. This limits the test’s effectiveness for diagnosing COVID-19 and why it should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose COVID-19.
Serological tests can play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 by helping healthcare professionals to identify individuals who have overcome an infection in the past and have developed an immune response. In the future, this may potentially be used to help determine, together with other clinical data, that such individuals are no longer susceptible to infection and can return to work. In addition, these test results can aid in determining who may donate a part of their blood called convalescent plasma, which may serve as a possible treatment for those who are seriously ill from COVID-19. This is why Vice President Mike Pence called on the laboratory community to develop serological tests for COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention:**
The serology test looks for the presence of antibodies, which are specific proteins made in response to infections. Antibodies can be found in the blood and in other tissues of those who are tested after infection. The antibodies detected by this test indicate that a person had an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, whether symptoms developed from infection or the infection was asymptomatic.
Antibody test results are important in detecting infections with few or no symptoms.
The results of these studies will allow us to estimate how many people have been infected nationally. The results will also provide information about the percentage of U.S. residents who have not had COVID-19 and are still at risk for infection. This research is designed to help us understand who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and determine factors that confer protection against this virus.