Spectrum to offer COVID-19 antibody test

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health said it will be offering COVID-19 antibody testing to the general public.

The blood tests detect the presence of disease-fighting antibodies, indicating someone previously had COVID-19.

“The specificity of the tests is so important,” said Adam Caulfield, technical director of microbiology at Spectrum Health.

Caulfield said the hospital will offer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended two-tiered test, which targets the IgG antibody specific to the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts said this test is more accurate than others because it confirms the results twice.

Doctors have already performed more than 300 of them.

“Antibody testing is a helpful tool for gauging how many people may have been exposed to this virus,” said Caulfied.

Caulfield said anyone who recently had a recent respiratory illness and was unable to get tested for the coronavirus might be interested in the hospital’s $45 offer.

“We would recommend waiting at least 10-14 days post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure with someone whose been confirmed with COVID-19 in order for those test results to be reliable,” said Caulfield.

Health officials warn that the presence of antibodies doesn’t mean you’re immune to COVID-19.

“It’s currently unknown if the presence of antibodies indicates immunity or protection against future infection,” said Caulfield.

Spectrum said it has the capacity to conduct 1,000 antibody tests per day and results usually come back 24 hours later.

Officials note that the antibody test is not intended to diagnose COVID-19 and will be covered by most insurance plans.

Doctors said patients will need to get an order from their provider to be tested.