Antibody tests heading to state-run testing sites

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
FILE – In this Tuesday, April 14, 2020 file photo, a woman holds her hand out to have blood collected for a 15-minute test for COVID-19 coronavirus antibodies at a drive thru site in Hempstead, N.Y. Antibodies are the markers of infections that someone already had. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Were you sick over the winter and didn’t know what you had?

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state has 200,000 antibody tests that could tell you if you’ve had the coronavirus. The tests will go to state-run testing sites, but it’s unclear if the site at CenturyLink Sports Complex will receive them. Currently, they do not test for antibodies, only for an active virus infection.

There are also a lot of questions about how trustworthy the tests are and if there are flaws.

“I’ve had people say, ‘You know, I had a really nasty illness in late February. I went in, tested for flu and was negative. I may have had this.’ Well, you can come in and get tested for antibodies, then you’ll know,” the governor said.

MORE: If you want to get tested for COVID-19 at CenturyLink Sports Complex, here’s what you need to know

Harrison Lawrence of Bonita Springs said if and when he gets tested, he still might be wary about the results.

“I don’t think you will ever be immune to it. I feel like there will always be a chance for you to get it, obviously, until we get a vaccine,” he said.

A Lee Health doctor said the tests are very helpful but they won’t give you all the information you want to know.

“Both CDC and FDA have come out and said the serology test is helpful to look at what your prevalence is in the community,” said Alex Daneshmand, D.O., MBA, FAAP, Lee Health chief quality and patient safety officer.

Daneshmand said the antibody test doesn’t provide immunity information.

“Because we have not as a country studied that to say if you have a certain level of virus, what does that mean? Does that protect you from getting reinfected?” he said.

He’s worried people won’t protect themselves anymore.

“The concern is people get tested and they find out that they have been exposed to COVID and then they go outside and not protect themselves and other people because they think they have immunity.”

Lawrence said he will always take precautions, no matter the result.

“I would still be iffy and take necessary precautions to social distance to protect myself and others,” he said.

Swiss company Roche just received emergency approval for a COVID-19 antibody test that they said is extremely accurate.

They said the test produces a false-positive only once for every 500 tests.

They want to produce millions of tests this month, and 100 million a month later this year.

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