Brazos County starts antibody testing for COVID-19

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:52:36-04

COLLEGE STATION, TX — As the first phase of testing has been about determining who had COVID-19, the next phase focuses on who has it or may still be fighting it and those answers can be done in a quick finger prick.

Antibody testing is taking place in the Brazos Valley as health care workers look for signs in the blood to see who has developed antibodies.

“If you have antibodies but you are not showing any symptoms that lets you know that you were one of the people that have been exposed that was asymptomatic," explains Dr. Kelly Maedo of Brazos Valley Urgent Care.

For many, that is exactly why they are doing the antibody testing; to see if they have be exposed.

"I know it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get it, I would just like to know if i was exposed to it. It would make me feel a little bit better," says College Station Resident Jill Presnal.

The FDA has antibody testing listed as a waiting emergency use authorization that looks for two antibodies in the blood IgM and IgG.

“IgM rises rapidly after at least 10 days and goes away around 30 days," explains Dr. Maedo. “IgG is a more long term antibody and that shows up positive around 4 to 6 weeks."

It is important to remember that if your results come back positive, indicating the presence of these antibodies, it doesn’t mean that you are immune to COVID-19.

"The CDC is hesitant to say what the antibodies mean at this point. In general, when you have an IgG antibody to something, some virus, that typically means that you’ve had it and that you are not going to get it again,” says Dr. Maedo.

Though testing positive does not mean immunity, many want the results to come back positive to help give them a little piece of mind.

"I’m sad that I'm negative. I really thought I had be exposed to it," says Presnal.

Those how do test positive who may qualify to donate blood to help those who are seriously ill from COVID-19. But, Brazos Valley Urgent Care says they have not seen a significant number of positive tests which indicates quarantining is working.

Brazos Valley Urgent Care is now offering antibody test by appoint only and are only $25 for those a year or older.