Medwatch: CCMH lab running antibody testing

Medwatch: CCMH lab running antibody testing

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Comanche County Memorial Hospital's lab can now test to see if people have antibodies to COVID-19. With some being asymptomatic, people are curious if they got the virus and didn't know it. Dr. Robbie Graham, the Laboratory Medical Director at CCMH said people can have testing ran through the hospital's lab.

"We are the first hospital or institution in the state of Oklahoma to run this particular antibody test on this platform," Dr. Graham said. "It is 99.8% specific for the COVID-19 virus, and it's 100% sensitive after a number of days after the patient has been proven to have the disease."

The test they run looks to see if there are antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are built to fight off infections. Laura Samek, the Core Lab Supervisor at CCMH, said some are concerned about the validity of antibody tests.

"There's a lot of coronaviruses out there,” Samek said. “The common cold is a coronavirus. Actually, our test that we're implementing has been the most researched test on the market. It is the most highly sensitive and the most specific for COVID-19."

She says because of all the testing done, there's a low chance that it could give a false positive.

What are people supposed to do with that information?

"If you're positive you'd follow up with your PCP [primary care physician], and perhaps if you're symptomatic, you would get a nasal swab to confirm that you have an active infection,” Samek said. “If not, if you're healthy and you're fine, then you can just say 'I've been exposed, and I got better.'"

Even though there's been a lot of testing done on tests for antibodies, there's still a lot unknown about the virus.

"We don't know if it's going to become a seasonal virus,” Samek said. “We don't know if it's going to come back. We don't know if those antibodies will continue to provide you protection from a current infection or being re-infected later."

People can get the test by going to their physician and asking for it. It will take a few days to get the results. CCMH plans on holding a community health fair to offer antibody testing at a minimal cost to determine if someone may have had the virus and recovered from it. We’ll let you know when a date is set.

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