The US MedClinic in Carrollton is offering antibody testing for COVID-19.
The testing is used to detect whether or not a person has contracted COVID-19, regardless of if they were symptomatic, according to Dr. Brent Harris with the clinic.
Harris said that any time the human body is exposed to an infection, such as viral and bacterial infections, it creates antibodies. Medical professionals at the clinic draw blood from a patient and use that to detect antibodies called “IgG (the most common immunoglobulin) antibodies.”
The tests at Harris’s clinic are able to detect whether a person has contacted COVID-19 within two weeks after exposure.
Harris said that his rough estimate is that 50% of people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and roughly 25% would not have any symptoms at all. The test would be able to tell someone if they had COVID-19 even if they were asymptomatic.
Despite previously having COVID-19, there is no guarantee a person will never contract the disease again or have immunity to it, Harris said. However, a person might have an immune defense afterward.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also doing antibody testing and according to the CDC, it is still unknown if the antibodies that result from the infection will provide someone with immunity from a future infection. If antibodies do provide immunity, it is unknown what amount of antibodies would be protective or the how long that protection would last.
Harris said that another benefit of antibody testing is for data collection purposes, because knowing the total number of those infected could provide a more accurate mortality rate as well as determine how hard the virus has actually hit the community.
Of the antibody tests done by the clinic, which Harris said is likely nearing 1,000 tests, about five in every 100 are positive for antibodies.
But Harris was also quick to add that his data and sample are not very robust and a true blind sampling is needed to get a good idea of exactly how many people in the community have actually already had the virus.
Anyone who wishes to get an antibody test can contact the clinic to set up an appointment and tests are $100 each for individuals.