COVID-19 Antibody Testing

What is the COVID-19 antibody test?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) antibody testing is a qualitative detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 to help identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. The human body produces antibodies as part of our immune response to the virus.  It usually takes 10-14 days to produce enough antibodies to be detected in our blood.

Which antibody test do you use?

We use the LabCorp IgG Antibody Test, which is conducted via a blood draw.

Why aren’t you using a rapid test?

Our research determined that, at this time, many of the rapid tests provide unreliable results when compared with the information LabCorp has provided on their tests.  While data is limited for all antibody tests at this stage, we felt our customers would prefer accuracy over speed.

Who should be tested?

The test is recommended for individuals (either previously tested or not previously tested) at least 14 days after the onset of symptoms.  It is also recommended for patients who believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.  In all cases, patient must be symptom free for at least 14 days.

What is the value of doing this test?

Testing for COVID-19 antibodies can help health departments understand the number of people exposed to the virus.  Testing also helps patients identify whether you have previously had the COVID-19 infection (antibody positive) or not (antibody negative) regardless of whether you have had symptoms or not.  Testing also allows those patients who have antibodies (antibody positive) to donate blood/plasma to help other critically ill COVID-19 patients fight off their infection.

Understand your COVID-19 Antibody test results

Positive: You produced the COVID-19 antibody and have a high likelihood of prior infection. Some patients with past infections may not have experienced any symptoms. It is unclear at this time if a positive antibody infers immunity against future COVID-19 infection. Please continue with universal precautions: social distancing, hand washing and when applicable PPE such as masks or gloves.

Negative: You tested negative for COVID-19 antibody. This means you have not been infected with COVID-19. Please note, it may take 14-21 days to produce detectable levels of antibody presence. If you had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within the past 3 weeks and tested negative, repeat testing in 1-2 weeks may yield a positive result.

Equivocal: Your test results could not be interpreted as Positive or Negative. The most common reasons for equivocal results are presence of an immune response but unclear if against the infection being tested for (COVID-19 in this case) or similar infections (the common cold is a type of coronavirus). If indicated, a repeat test may yield more reliable results.

How is this test conducted?

The test requires a blood draw.

Considerations for COVID-19 antibody testing

Currently, there are some limitations around the results of the test. A few things to consider:

    • If you have been in recent contact with the virus and you test negative for the antibody, it does not rule out a current or developing infection.
    • If you test positive, it could be due to past or present infection with a different coronavirus strain other than COVID-19.
  • Positive results do not currently indicate a person is immune from COVID-19.  Additional studies are underway to determine if antibodies will prevent re-infection.

Cost of COVID-19 antibody test?

There is no cost to the patient for this test for all patients (insured and uninsured)  

Cost of the TeleCare physician visit prior to antibody test?

For most insured patients, it is entirely free.  A few insurance carriers will cover your AFC TeleCare visit but are subject to your normal urgent care copay or deductible. Our staff will be happy to check your benefits prior to your visit. 

For uninsured patients, the cost is $99.   However, uninsured patient payments will be refunded to you to the extent the federal government follows through on its promise to reimburse physicians for any COVID-19 related office or TeleCare visit for the uninsured.  

How to get tested for COVID-19 antibody?

You can schedule a TeleCare visit with your AFC Urgent Care physician by visiting our website at AFCUrgentCareCheltenham.com or AFCUrgentCareNoLibs.com and clicking “Book a Virtual Visit Online.”  After your visit, our physician can order your antibody test to be conducted in our clinic that same day or anytime at your convenience.  

The antibody test itself is a quick blood draw that typically takes 5-10 minutes from beginning to                   end.  ALL PATIENTS ENTERING OUR FACILITY FOR TESTING MUST BE SYMPTOM-FREE AND WEAR A MASK.

Our Cheltenham location is located at 2401 W Cheltenham Ave, Wyncote, PA 19095 (Rt. 309 & Cheltenham Ave) and our Philadelphia location is located at 180 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Below Acme – free attached parking garage)

How long does it take to get the antibody test results?

Typically 1-3 days