Testing for COVID-19 Antibodies
Physicians Quality Care in both Jackson and Milan is testing patients for the presence of antibodies to COVID-19. Walk-ins are welcome.
“Knowing that you have antibodies to the virus can give you peace of mind," said Dr. Jimmy Hoppers, CEO of Physicians Quality Care. "We don’t have enough data yet about COVID-19, but we do know that the presence of antibodies to other diseases caused by a virus – measles, mumps, flu, chicken pox – confers a much lower risk of getting the disease or spreading it to others."
Knowing if you have antibodies will help as social restrictions are lifted, and as we go into fall and winter, when medical experts expect the virus to come back.
"Though it’s not guaranteed that you will have immunity to the coronavirus with antibodies in your system, you have already exhibited immunity by recovering from the virus," Dr. Hoppers said. "Consider the immunity conferred by receiving a flu shot. Can you still get the flu? Yes, but your likelihood of getting the disease has been significantly lessened and, if you do become ill, your symptoms will typically be milder and last a shorter length of time.”
Getting the antibody blood test will be a simple office visit. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the visit; you’ll have a co-pay if your insurance company requires it. PQC will file your visit with your insurance company. And, it’s highly possible, the federal government will pick up the cost of this antibody testing.
Like any other urgent care patient, you will be met at the door to make sure you have no symptoms of the coronavirus. Your office visit will start with seeing a provider in an exam room and end with a blood draw by a lab technician.
The answers, below, will help give you a better understanding about COVID-19 antibody testing.
Coronavirus IgG Testing
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a serological or antibody test?
Serological tests detect antibodies present in the blood when the body is responding or has responded to a specific infection, such as COVID-19. They detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself.
What is an antibody?
Antibodies are your immune system’s response to fighting off the presence of a virus.
Is Physicians Quality Care’s COVID-19 antibody test reliable?
Yes. The results show whether someone has developed antibodies (or markers) for the coronavirus. It has a 96% specificity, which means it detects antibodies to COVID-19 correctly 24 out of 25 times. Even so, we don’t have enough data yet about COVID-19 to be able to know precisely what it means to have COVID-19 antibodies. We do know that the presence of antibodies to other diseases caused by a virus – measles, mumps, flu, chicken pox – confers a much lower risk of getting the disease or spreading it to others.
Who can get the test?
People who are asymptomatic – meaning you’ve had no symptoms of the coronavirus for the last 10 days – can come to either PQC urgent care location for a blood test that will check for the presence of IgG antibodies to COVID-19. We won’t test for antibodies if you are showing symptoms. Instead, we will recommend that you go to our secure COVID-19 Clinic to get a test for the virus.
Can the presence of antibodies from another coronavirus, such as the flu, impact the results of the test?
Physicians Quality Care specifically tests for Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19) IgG antibodies. That does not guarantee that there is no cross-reactivity to other members of the coronavirus family, but that can be said when testing for any virus.
How are the tests administered and who provides the results?
Physicians Quality Care administers the tests at its Jackson and Milan walk-in clinics. Like a regular office visit, the patient meets with a provider and then has blood drawn. The blood samples are sent to LabCorp, a nationally accredited testing laboratory, which determines the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.
How long does it take to get the results?
Two to three days.
Will my insurance pay for this test?
Yes. If your insurance requires a co-pay, you will need to provide a co-pay when you come to the clinic. We will file with your insurance company.
If you have antibodies, are you immune to COVID-19?
Though it’s not guaranteed that you will have immunity to the coronavirus with antibodies in your system, you have already exhibited immunity by recovering from the virus. Consider the immunity conferred by receiving a flu shot. Can you still get the flu? Yes, but your likelihood of getting the disease has been significantly lessened and, if you do become ill, your symptoms will typically be milder and last a shorter length of time.
If you have antibodies, can you still spread the disease if you go back to work or resume daily activities?
According to the FDA: “Experience with other viruses suggests that individuals whose blood contains antibodies associated with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection – provided they are recovered and not currently infected with the virus – may be able to resume work and other daily activities in society.”
If you have antibodies, should you maintain social distancing?
We do not know whether patients who have COVID-19 antibodies are still at risk of reinfection with COVID-19. The Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends that people with antibodies not change their behavior in any way and continue social distancing.
Is it OK if you don’t have COVID-19 antibodies?
Yes. It means that what you are doing to avoid the virus is working.
Are the tests FDA-reviewed?
The FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 serological testing along with a guidance document assuring that there will be no objections to developing, distributing or using the tests. The guidance applies to commercial manufacturers, laboratories and health care workers at the point of care – not at-home tests. The goal of the policy is to provide laboratories and health care providers early access to the tests with the understanding that they have not yet undergone the lengthy FDA authorization process, which can often take years.
How does the FDA guidance apply to Physicians Quality Care?
Physicians Quality Care, in partnership with LabCorp, is offering the tests in accordance with the public health emergency guidance issued by the FDA.