ATLANTA — The next step in testing for COVID-19 is the antibody test, one way to tell if someone has had the infection and has antibodies in their blood.
But with so many tests popping up, it's hard to know where to go to get an accurate test.
In fact, out of the hundreds of tests out there, the FDA has only approved 12 under the Emergency Use Authorization.
Russell Fields says he has been more confident being in public for the past few weeks, ever since he took an antibody test at a lab in South Carolina at the insistence of his wife.
"We loaded the whole family up, went up there took the test," Fields said. "I didn't really want to go at all. She kind of made me. I was the only one who tested positive. The rest of them tested negative."
They said they couldn't find a test in Georgia at the time.
After a finger prick and 15 minutes, Fields got the results that he had antibodies for a recent as well as a past infection.
"I thought it was a little bit crazy because I hadn't had any symptoms whatsoever," Fields said.
Dr. Bronwen Garner at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta said antibody tests are, overall, a good idea for public health.
"It helps us determine that special number," she said. "That serological number is helpful for us to know what the general level of disease is like in the community at one point and time," Garner said.
The tests at Piedmont require a full blood draw and a doctor's order.
Garner said whatever antibody test a person takes, they need to consider three things:
- Make sure it is 100 percent specific to COVID-19
- The test should be looking for an antibody that can kill the virus in the body
- The timeline for antibody protection is still unclear
Whatever results are received, Garner said everyone should still continue to practice social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.
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