Antibody tests to help learn more about coronavirus

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Health care officials hope testing will answer more questions about COVID-19

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Antibody tests are being used to learn more about COVID-19. It’s a blood draw to find out if you have ever been exposed or infected with the virus. “In theory when you get infected with a virus, your body builds antibodies and the immunity can last depending on the virus or the infection,” said Awais Vaid with Champaign Urbana Public Health District.

However, with COVID 19 there are still many uncertainties. “We don’t know if it’s going to provide any immunity which is a big discussion right now, and even if it provides immunity how long is that immunity going to last,” said Vaid. CampusTown Urgent Care started antibody tests about three weeks ago. They say certain tests are better than others. “There has been a lot of bad publicity with some Chinese manufacturers that had been selling antibody tests and the reliability of those tests was very poor. We’re not using those,” said Thomas Pliura with CampusTown Urgent Care.

Health care officials say they’re hoping these tests will give them more information about this virus. “Nationwide there are many large studies that are ongoing that are going to determine what percentage of our population has an exposure,” said Vaid.

“The government has access to all of these testing results, and presumably they’re going to use that when they make recommendations as to which areas of the country they can open back up,” said Pliura. If you test positive, health care officials say that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You sould still social distance and wear masks. “I don’t want this to be giving a false sense of security that if you have antibodies you are fine because we still don’t know that,” said Vaid. CampusTown says there is no out of pocket expense for people who get the tests done. The results usually come back in one to two days.

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