As employers are considering return-to-work plans, CareATC is leading the way by offering COVID-19 antibody testing to clients.
Understanding Antibody Testing
In general, antibodies begin to be produced by the immune system a few days after infection starts and remain positive long after the infection ends.This is why an antibody test can be useful to detect a past infection with Coronavirus and determine some evidence of potential immunity.
Antibodies can be detected a couple different ways through blood testing. By taking blood from a vein, we can quantify how many antibodies a person has, which helps determine their immune status. Currently there are several laboratories working to gain this capability.
Another way to test immunity is to conduct a rapid antibody test which is qualitative. It tells us if antibodies are detected, but does not tell us how much of each antibody is present in the body. Rapid tests can be conducted, with a drop of blood, from a finger prick in many different settings.
Though the test does not convey how many of each antibody is present, it is regarded as a preliminary step that may be helpful to know if some immunity is present in an employee.
Distribution of COVID-19 Antibody Detection Tests
CareATC is beginning to offer antibody detection testing to member employers. If a patient displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a mild cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and is still recovering should wait until asymptomatic or more than 7 days has elapsed since onset.
All patients will need to consult a CareATC physician via a virtual visit or in-person before they can be considered for COVID-19 antibody tests. Depending on the testing method, results are typically available within 20 minutes for a rapid test or 2 to 3 days for a blood draw.
CareATC plans to offer the intravenous version of the antibody blood test to member employers as soon as it becomes available and has plans to incorporate it into upcoming Personal Health Assessment events and at CareATC clinics for member employers who elect to offer it to their employees.
Known Antibody Test Limitations
It is important to note that the rapid antibody test is not yet FDA approved. There are currently no FDA approved SAR-Cov2 antibody tests available. A positive antibody test does not mean immunity. In some cases, a CareATC physician may recommend an additional nasopharyngeal PCR test or serial rapid antibody testing to make better predictions about immunity.
CareATC is dedicated to continuing the fight against COVID-19 and providing member employers the information required to make the best decisions for their employees. Our goal is to be as proactive as possible so that our member employers and their employees can take the first steps toward recovery.