ANTIBODY TESTING FOR COVID-19 [Updated]

Exer Urgent Care is now offering an FDA-authorized COVID-19 antibody test at all 16 Southern California locations. The antibody testing, through a blood sample, detects the presence of the virus and identifies patients who have been exposed to or recovered from COVID-19.

The new test detects antibodies produced in the blood and indicates those who may have been exposed or recovered from the coronavirus. For the most effective results, the antibody testing must be conducted a minimum of 14 days after infection or exposure.  This helps ensure sensitivity and produces more accurate results. Results are received within 3 days after testing and Exer notifies patients apprising them of their results and recommended next steps.

Anyone who is interested in receiving an antibody test must receive a referral through Exer’s VirtualCare portal or at an Exer clinic. VirtualCare by Exer, an online extension of our urgent care service provides real-time access to a medical provider via video chat and a quick diagnosis with treatment options. After a referral is received, patients will be directed to visit their local Exer clinic to proceed with antibody testing.

Exer offers a safe testing environment where screening is handled at the front entrance, and we are following all public health guidance for sanitizing our clinics.

Get screened today at one of our clinics or online at VirtualCare by Exer. For more info on the COVID-19 nasal swab test, click here.

 

Antibody Testing FAQs

What is a COVID-19 antibody test?

The IgG antibody test can help identify individuals who have developed an immune response to the virus, either as part of an active infection or a prior infection. The test detects the presence of antibodies in the blood – if antibodies are present, that indicates that the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus. In the early days of an infection when the body’s immune response is still building, antibodies may not be detected, which is why antibody tests should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude infection with the COVID-19 virus. There is also a great deal about COVID-19 immunity that the medical community doesn’t yet fully understand. For example, we don’t yet know that just because someone has developed the IgG antibody, that they are fully protected from reinfection, or how long any immunity lasts.

Who can get COVID-19 antibody tests?

Patients interested in receiving an antibody test should be symptom-free for a minimum of fourteen (14) days or have never experienced any COVID-19 related symptoms at all.

Can we order an antibody test and a nasal swab at the same time?

Absolutely. We just need to be sure to inform patients what each test is and what each test result means.

What should I expect when I get COVID-19 antibody test done?

When you arrive at Exer for a COVID-19 antibody test, you will be screened at the door and directed to the registration desk to complete registration. You will then proceed to an exam room where you will see one of our providers who will examine you to make sure you are asymptomatic, document the timing and nature of your past symptoms (if any), and counsel you on the limitation of the test and interpretation of the results. Finally, your blood will be drawn for the test and you will receive information about the test you are receiving.

What if I have symptoms like a cough and runny nose?

The nasal swab is the gold standard for diagnosing a COVID-19 infection. We recommend you get screened first to see if you need to be tested. You can do this using VirtualCare by Exer.

How long will it take to get results?

We will call you with the results within 3 days for either the antibody or nasal swab test.

How much blood is needed?

About half a test tube.

What if it’s negative?

A negative test result means that the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in your sample. However, it is possible for the test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) in some people with prior COVID-19. A negative result may occur if you are tested early in your illness and your body hasn’t had time to produce antibodies to the infection. This means that you could possibly still have COVID-19 even though the test is negative. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will consider the test results together with all other aspects of your medical history (such as symptoms, possible exposures, and geographical location of places you have recently traveled) in deciding how to care for you. It is important that you work with your healthcare provider to help you understand the next steps you should take.

What if the antibody test is positive?

If you have a positive test result, it is likely that you have previously had COVID-19 and that you have developed an antibody response to the virus. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results along with other factors of your medical history, including any previous symptoms, possible exposure to COVID-19, and the location of places you have recently traveled. There is also the chance that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false positive).

So, a positive IgG means I’m immune?

No, there is no evidence yet that this test means you are immune and will not get the virus. There are still ongoing studies on this, so stay tuned!

What do I do if I have additional questions about my COVID-19 antibody test results?

Please call the clinic if you have any additional questions or concerns about your test results.

Where can I go for updates and more information?

The most up-to-date information on COVID-19 is available at the CDC General webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html. In addition, please contact your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

 

For more information:

FDA Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/emergency-use-authorizations#covid19ivd
FDA: Serological Test Validation and Education: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-serological-test-validation-and-education-efforts