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FAQ: Here are answers to 9 questions you’ve had about antibody tests

Only 8 COVID-19 antibody tests on the market OK’d by FDA
Only 8 COVID-19 antibody tests on the market OK’d by FDA

KPRC 2 asked our digital audience what questions they had about antibodies as there is a hope the tests could reveal if someone has been exposed to the coronavirus.

KPRC 2 Haley Hernandez answered questions the KPRC 2 sent us through Facebook Live. You can see her Facebook Live at the bottom.

Could antibody tests be an answer to help reopen the economy?

These tests have a lot of pros in the fight against coronavirus since they could possibly reveal if you have ever been exposed to the coronavirus. The benefit is it could mean you have developed antibodies to the virus which could potentially mean you have developed immunity to it. The truth is, there’s a lot of cons too.

Is it true if your test comes back positive, you would be immune to the illness?

Experts don’t know for sure. At first, the World Health Organization said no, then they said maybe. The truth is, they’re still working to figure it out.

If you have antibodies, it could mean you are safer. In one study, one in four New Yorkers had antibodies. The same number was discovered in Los Angeles.

Would antibody protection last forever?

We’re not sure.

How long do antibodies last?

There’s a chance antibodies can last a long time. Since this virus is new, it hasn’t been around long enough to get an answer on that.

How long after infection can antibodies show up in the blood?

Likely they will develop in days. Some of the antibody tests require you to be symptom free for 10 days before you can get the antibody test.

How much do the tests costs? Will insurance cover it?

Some insurance companies have said they will cover coronavirus-related costs. Testing facilities in Houston say you would have to apply for reimbursement for tests. Prices for antibody tests range from $75-120 at local labs.

Where to get tests?

Some clinics and hospitals around Houston offer them but you have to qualify at more places to get one.

For example, at Quest Diagnostics, they want you to order the test online (and fill out this form to get it) and make an appointment to get a blood draw. They say results can come in two days or less and will cost $120.

Apex Urgent Care in Katy is also offering the test for $85 and Principle Health labs like this one in Clear Lake, is charging $75.

Is it a blood test or nose swab?

It’s a blood tests. Finger prick, most likely.

What are the cons of antibody tests?

They get false positives. This means you get results back that says you had coronavirus but you never did. This could give people false confidence that you have immunity and you don’t.

In studies, 10-15% of these tests are showing false positives. That means 85-90% are accurate, but scientists say that’s not good enough. They aim to have 2% or lower false positive rates with testing.

Buyer beware: There are tons of fake tests out there. The FDA has only approved a handful of tests so far.

Ask 2: Are antibody tests helpful and where can I get one? KPRC2 Haley Hernandez helps answer your questions

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Thursday, April 30, 2020