Spectrum Health begins antibody testing

Spectrum Health's Butterworth Hospital Courtesy Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health is now offering COVID-19 antibody testing to the general public.

The antibody, or serology, test is a blood test designed to detect a previous COVID-19 infection through the presence of disease-fighting antibodies. Spectrum Health is offering a two-tiered test, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which targets the antibody specific to the virus that causes. This test improves accuracy by confirming results using two different mechanisms.

“We know that anyone who receives a positive result on this test has been exposed to COVID-19,” said Susan Smith, Spectrum Health’s senior director of laboratory services. “We hope this testing will help us learn more about how the disease spreads in our community and who it has affected.”

The two-tiered test, available at all Spectrum Health laboratories, is not restricted to a specific patient population but does require an order from a doctor or advanced practice provider. It is not intended for the diagnosis of an acute COVID-19 infection and should only be used 10 or more days after the onset of symptoms.

Anyone who would like a test should contact their health care provider. Spectrum Health can conduct up to 1,000 antibody tests per day with results typically available within 24 hours. The cost of the test is $45 and should be covered by most insurance plans.

Spectrum Health warns the presence of antibodies does not mean one is immune from contracting COVID-19, nor does it support easing behaviors such as social distancing, wearing a facemask and regularly washing hands.

Those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may call the Spectrum Health hotline at (833) 559-0659 to be scheduled for a free virtual screening. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911.

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