Coronavirus Antibody Testing
Antibody Testing Overview
Testing to see who has or had the COVID-19 will become one of the most crucial elements for slowing the global pandemic. It could also hold the key to a return to normal.
Individuals who have been asymptomatic for at least 10 days, and who want to know if they have been exposed to COVID-19 without any symptoms, can now take the COVID-19 Antibody Test.
Coronavirus Antibody Tests available at Priority Care
Send-Out Antibody Testing
Beginning Monday, April 27, Priority Care will begin performing COVID-19 antibody (IgG and IgM) testing through our affiliation with LabCorp.
This test will require blood to be collected in our office and sent to LabCorp for testing. LabCorp is anticipating result times to be 1-3 days. This test will be performed in conjunction with an office visit to any one of our four Priority Care Clinics locations.
This test is available for any individual who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but are no longer symptomatic.
This test determines the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 and can help to identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Understanding that if a person has developed the antibodies and the potential immune response can be helpful in the determination of important decisions, such as the ability to return to work.
Test Performance and Accuracy
According to the FDA release on 5/7/2020 regarding test performance, the Abbott IgG Antibody Assay test that we are currently using through LabCorp, has 100% Sensitivity and 99.6% Specificity for COVID. The full FDA release regarding Test Performance and Accuracy can be found here.
Patients are required to have an in-person office medical evaluation with one of our healthcare providers who will then order the appropriate diagnostic lab test for you. This evaluation will be billed to your insurance company through Priority Care Clinics. We have received notification from most of the major insurance carriers that the cost of your office visit, as well as the testing, will be covered. Therefore, at this time, no co-pay will be collected at the time of service for visits related to COVID-19 testing.
Billing for any send out laboratory testing will be done separately by LabCorp.
According to section Q4 of the Families First Cononavirus Response Act FAQ issued on April 11, 2020:
FDA has advised the Departments that serological tests for COVID-19 meet the definition of an in vitro diagnostic product for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 or the diagnosis of COVID-19.14 Therefore, plans and issuers must provide coverage for a serological test for COVID-19 that otherwise meets the requirements of section 6001(a)(1) of the FFCRA, as amended by section 3201 of the CARES Act.
Based on the above language from the Coronavirus Response Act, we believe that most insurance plans will cover the cost of the testing as well as the office visit. However, all insurance companies are different, as are individual plans. We recommend that you contact your insurance carrier to determine coverage prior to your visit. Patients will be responsible for any cost not covered by insurance once the claim has been processed.
Patients without insurance can now have Serology testing performed through LabCorp. Pricing includes the cost of the office evaluation and the antibody test.
$145: Single Antibody Testing - IgG test only
$195: Double Antibody Study - both IgG and IgM will be tested
FAQs for COVID-19 Antibody Tests
What is the COVID-19 Antibody Test?
The COVID-19 Antibody Test is an effective way to evaluate if your body has produced an antibody immune response to exposure COVID-19. It does NOT diagnose COVID-19 nor can the results of this test determine if you care “Immune” to COVID19 (Studies are still ongoing to determine this answer).
While the COVID-19 RNA Viral Test (the typical nasal swab test) will determine the presence of the virus, the COVID-19 Antibody Test only detects the presence of viral exposure by measuring your immune systems antibody response.
Who can get an antibody test?
Patients who are symptom free for at least 10 days, who believe they may have had COVID19 or who think they might have been exposed to COVID19 can be tested to see if they have developed antibodies.
Why wait 10 days?
The 10-day minimum helps ensure maximum sensitivity to the test. If these tests are taken too early after exposure or too early after an illness, they might give a false negative result.
How long do results take?
The results should be back in 24-72 hours.
Does the antibody test diagnose COVID-19?
No. This screens for antibodies, which are a specialized type of a blood protein produced in response to infection. In this case COVID-19.
Is the antibody test where they shove a swab up my nose?
No. This test is a blood test that is collected either through venipuncture (i.e. normal blood drawl) or through a simple finger-prick. Unlike the viral RNA swab test, which can take several days to confirm COVID-19 infection.
What's the goal of the antibody test?
To help determine many people have already been in contact with COVID-19 and have developed an immune response. As we learn more, this information may be helpful to make suggestions about behavior (e.g. continue self-isolation or return to work or school).
Can the antibody test be performed on symptomatic people?
Technically yes, but we do not recommend it. In fact, the test information suggests that symptomatic individuals run the risk of test error.
What do the results tell me?
Positive or Negative IgG/IgM results can indicate recent or past infection and potential immunity, giving you information about how safe it is for you to return to work or school.
What if my antibody tests are negative?
Good question! We’re making sure patients are symptom-free for at least10 days before performing this test to ensure maximum sensitivity. If it’snegative, it means you likely have not been ill with COVID-19 and have not been exposed to it either.
What if the antibody test is positive?
If the acute antibody (IgM) is positive, then we will recommend you get a nasal swab to confirm your diagnosis. If the long-term antibody (IgG) is positive, then that means you were previously infected or exposed to the coronavirus.
If I am IgG positive, I’m immune?
No, there is no evidence yet that this test means you are immune and will not get the virus. There are still ongoing studies on this, so stay tuned!
More Info About Antibody Testing
Antibody tests for COVID-19 are intended for individuals who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but are no longer symptomatic.
The tests determine the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and can help to identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Understanding if an individual has developed the antibodies and a potential immune response can be useful in the determination of important decisions such as the ability to return to work.
Antibody tests use serum in blood samples from individuals who are being evaluated for COVID-19 infection or have been exposed to the virus. LabCorp offers separate tests for each of the three major classes of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (IgG and IgM).
- IgG turns positive within 7-20 days of infection and tends to persist for over 6-months (likely years).
- IgM turns positive within 7-20 days of infection onset, peaks at 80 days, but unlike IgG typically fades away within 3-6-months.
A positive serologic result indicates that an individual has likely produced an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A negative serologic result indicates that an individual has not developed detectable antibodies at the time of testing. While contingent on a variety of factors, this could be due to testing too early in the course of COVID-19, the absence of exposure to the virus, or the lack of an adequate immune response, which can be due to conditions or treatments that suppress immune function.
Confirmation of infection with SARS-CoV-2 must be made through a combination of clinical evaluation and other applicable tests. Decisions about ongoing monitoring, treatment or return to normal activities for patients being treated for suspected infection with SARS-CoV-2 should also be made in accordance with guidance from public health authorities.
At this time, it is not known if a positive antibody test means you have immunity from getting Coronavirus again.
More information about antibody testing can be found by visiting the CDC's website.
Active COVID-19 Viral Testing
Active Viral Screening is for anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and for screening purposes of acute COVID-19 infection.
Priority Care in White Marsh will continue to perform nasal swab testing for COVID-19. Please note that this test is only performed at our White Marsh location and is by appointment only.
This test is performed via a Nasopharyngeal Swab that is sent to LabCorp for analysis. Test results at this time are now around 2-3 days.
This test is performed in conjunction with an office evaluation, which will include obtaining a medical history, vital signs, and brief physical exam. Subsequently, a Lab order will be generated for COVID-19 testing, and onsite collection will be performed.
You do not need, nor do we accept lab slip orders from outside healthcare providers. We have healthcare providers on site who will order the COVID-19 testing.
More information about testing for the Coronavirus can be found here (cdc.gov).
Testing locations in Maryland
COVID-19 Antibody Testing and Viral Screening Locations
White Marsh Clinic
5282 Campbell Blvd.
Nottingham, MD 21236
Severna Park Clinic
550 Ritchie Hwy
Severna Park, MD 21146
3500 Boston St.
Baltimore, MD 21224
3720 Washington Blvd.
Halethorpe, MD 21227