Wondering whether you were infected with the coronavirus earlier in the year? Two companies are now offering antibody testing directly to the public on their websites.
And even if your health care provider doesn’t give you an order for the coronavirus antibody test, you still can get the test, provided you meet some qualifications.
If you order an antibody test through either company’s website but don’t already have a doctor’s order for the test, an independent physician from PWNHealth will order it on your behalf.
The antibody test does not tell you if you have an active coronavirus infection. Rather, it tests your blood for the presence of a particular antibody, called immunoglobulin G, or IgG.
According to Quest Diagnostics:
“The human body produces IgG antibodies as part of the immune response to the virus. It usually takes around 10 to 18 days to produce enough antibodies to be detected in the blood.”
To qualify for the antibody test, you must meet certain criteria, such as not having experienced new symptoms of COVID-19, the disease created by the coronavirus, in the past 10 days.
Recent studies from New York to California suggest that millions of people may have contracted the coronavirus without realizing it.
In most of these people, symptoms were nonexistent, or so mild that the infection passed largely unnoticed.
If you are among this group of the quietly infected, you probably want to know. Although nobody can say for sure, it’s likely that infection with the coronavirus will grant you some immunity from getting sick with the virus again.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly said he is confident that those who become infected with the coronavirus likely will have immunity, at least for a period:
“We haven’t formally proved it, but it is strongly likely that that’s the case. Because if this acts like any other virus, once you recover, you won’t get reinfected.”
As Money magazine points out, the new antibody tests are not foolproof.
The publication contacted Quest, and learned that two testing platforms are being used: one with a specificity of 98.5% to 99%, the other with a specificity of 99.4%. (A specificity of 98.5%, for example, would mean a 1.5% chance of a false positive.)
Indeed, earlier studies have suggested that of the 14 antibody tests on the market, just three were consistently accurate, The New York Times reports.
Still, testing might give you some peace of mind.
Recent federal laws and Trump administration directives generally require insurance companies, even private insurers, to cover care related to the coronavirus. This includes antibody tests, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
However, before you rush to get one of these tests, talk to your insurance company. It may require you to receive the test from an approved facility, Money says.
Also note that Quest and LabCorp charge a small fee of around $10 on behalf of PWNHealth. However, that fee does not apply if your health care provider ordered an antibody test for you.
Looking for more news on the coronavirus? Money Talks News has covered this story ever since the virus appeared on U.S. shores. To learn more about COVID-19 — and how to protect yourself from it — check out our coronavirus webpage.