What to expect during a COVID-19 antibody test

Published: May. 22, 2020 at 10:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona’s testing blitz continues this weekend. Aside from the test that will tell you if you have COVID-19 now, there’s also a test to learn if you’ve had it and recovered.

We’re answering your questions about what to expect if you get an antibody test. Most of us have had at least a day or two when we didn’t feel so hot this year. If you’re curious, anyone can get an antibody test right now and find out if they’ve ever been infected with Covid-19.

You can either order a test through your primary physician or get one directly through a company like Sonora Quest.

Keep in mind, the free University of Arizona antibody tests are currently still reserved for first responders and healthcare workers only.

How much does it cost?

$65 dollars if it’s billed through the doctor’s office and $99 dollars for the direct access test. You will have to submit the claim to insurance yourself.

When should you get the test?

Dr. Brian Mochon, scientific director for the Infectious Diseases Division of Sonora Quest Laboratories says it’s ideal to take the test at least 10 to 14 days after the onset of symptoms.

"The three-week window or month or two window, if you’ve been infected and are producing antibodies, they should be detectible,” Mochon said. Studies of similar illnesses show antibodies stick around for months or even years after infection.

What will happen during the test?

It’s a normal blood draw from a vein into a tube, not a finger stick. You do not have to fast, but do need to wear a mask, and be fever-free.

"If you feel like you have COVID-19 at that moment, don’t use this test. Go to your doctor and they will order the appropriate test,” Mochon said.

Does a positive test mean you’re immune to Covid-19?

Not exactly, Mochon said.

“A positive result should not make someone feel comfortable, not social distancing anymore. this is still something where we don’t know enough and even if you’re positive for igg - you still may not have the immunity to stop the spread to others.”

So, why get a test?

If you’re positive, you could donate plasma to help others, and help your community track cases more accurately.

Are there enough tests?

Right now, yes. Sonora Quest can and is giving around 3 thousand tests a day and can get you the results in one to four days. Keep in mind, COVID-19 struck right in the middle of flu and cold season, so it’s highly likely many people will test negative because they actually had one of those other illnesses.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.