INDIANAPOLIS — Antibody testing for COVID-19 is becoming more widely available in Indiana. This blood test could show who’s had the virus and, ultimately, what immunity looks like.
Dr. Robin Ledyard, the chief medical officer at Community Health Network, said Indiana residents interested in this testing should first contact their primary care doctor to see if they can perform the blood test.
Some local private labs also offer antibody testing.
The blood test detects antibodies to show if someone already fought off COVID-19. In some cases, people don’t even know they had the virus.
Experts believe people who recovered have some protection against reinfection, but this virus is so new, it’s not known how long that immunity lasts. Also, it’s unknown if someone with antibodies could contract COVID-19 again.
Blood test results for antibodies could take up to three days.
“We don’t know exactly what triggers in your body to cause you to be one of those to end up on the ventilator, cause you to end up with kidney failure, cause you to end up with a stroke caused by COVID-19, so that’s what makes it scary,” Dr. Ledyard said.
For those with antibodies, Dr. Ledyard said your doctor will likely follow-up with you for up to a year to see if you still have antibodies or if they’re gone and you’re at risk of getting COVID-19 again.
Dr. Ledyard said antibody testing is one of many studies about COVID-19 happening right now.
“I think it’s also more of a COVID-19 test itself,” Dr. Ledyard said. “Still today, I cannot test everyone that comes into my emergency department, and so I worry about having enough supply of just the COVID-19 test.”
Further, Dr. Ledyard said, with serology testing, blood testing for antibodies, researchers will learn more about how people respond to COVID-19.
“With the serology testing as well that will help us hopefully move a little bit faster to vaccine,” she said. “All of these pieces together give us a better picture, it’s not a silver bullet.”
She said, if you have antibodies, it could take up to a year of research to figure out what that means. Antibodies show you have some immunity, but how long that immunity lasts is the big question.
Again, Dr. Ledyard suggests first contacting your local doctor to see if their office performs antibody testing.
Some local private labs have also begun to promote testing for antibodies.
Locally, CBS4 has found tests ranging from $120 – $200.
Local health officials say, ask the accuracy of any test being performed and which test is being used. Then, check that information at the FDA’s website:
For the most updated list of antibody tests from the FDA, click here. Under the tab ‘Test Kit Manufacturers and Commercial Laboratories Table’ search ‘serology.’
For the most current list of which labs have submitted for serology testing authorization to the FDA, click here. The most updated list is under the tab “Q: What laboratories are offering serology tests under the policy outlined in Section IV.D of the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests? (Updated 5/14).”