BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Antibody blood tests for coronavirus are now available at Mainstreet Family Urgent Care across the state.
The tests aim to give a clearer picture of who’s infected with COVID-19 and who may have already had the virus.
A spokesperson from Mainstreet Family Urgent Care said everyone should be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, especially as employers take the next steps towards reopening.
COVID-19 is leaving its footprint on patients in Alabama, and now Mainstreet Family Urgent Care has the green light to trace its steps.
“Being able to see if somebody has the antibodies for COVID-19 allows health experts, and those who are making these decisions, to get a better picture of how the virus has actually been spreading,” said Chief Marketing Officer for Mainstreet Family Urgent Care, Betsy Stewart.
Stewart took to Facebook Wednesday morning to outline the testing process.
She said it’s fairly simple, and results come back in less than a week.
“If it’s a viral swab, it’s just a swab to the throat. If it’s an antibody test, it is a simple blood draw. After they complete those tests, the provider comes in and will do an evaluation: listen to your heart and lungs and make sure everything sounds good,” Stewart said.
But with the FDA warning that some antibody tests could give some patients false hope of immunity against COVID-19, some are concerned about Mainstreet’s accuracy.
“This is a brand-new test they are doing. So, it should be targeted towards the COVID-19 specific strain. However, there is a note on their website that it is possible to get a false positive on the antibody test. The FDA has authorized it, so they know it has at least a certain level of accuracy to target those COVID-19 specific strains,” Stewart explained.
Both viral and antibody testing became available on Tuesday at all 16 of Mainstreet’s locations in Alabama.
Stewart said insurance will cover the cost of testing, and co-pays are being waived right now.
Patients can still get the tests if they do not have insurance, but they will have to pay for it out of pocket.