There has been a lot of talk about antibody tests and officials say testing could be a powerful tool in the fight against the coronavirus.
Medical experts think antibodies could help treat coronavirus patients and testing could tell us how many people are immune.
The idea of antibody testing isn’t new. It’s a known fact that antibodies help stop viral outbreaks. Antibodies are created by our bodies when we are exposed to a virus.
As the San Diego County’s Medical Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Eric McDonald, pointed out Friday, for a viral outbreak to stop, 70% to 80% of the population needs to have that antibody.
That’s the exact research ARCpoint Labs in Mira Mesa is digging into. They’re administering antibody tests with a simple prick of the finger. The results come out 15 minutes later. A positive result indicates past infection and possible immunity.
ARCpoint says some point of care tests like this one don’t go have to clear the same rigorous FDA standards as other testing methods, as long as it meets certain criteria.
“This policy has allowed companies like us to bring it to market much quicker than if the policy wouldn’t have been created,” ARCpoint President and CEO John Constantine said.
McDonald said the county is looking into treating COVID-19 patients with antibodies, but there is a lot that remains unknown
“Some antibody tests are very good, some aren’t so good,” he said.
Although Constantine said its prick test is 99.6% accurate, around the world the accuracy of such tests are being questioned.
The FDA recently tightened restrictions around who can administer prick tests, so this lab is switching them out for classic blood-drawn tests instead.
The limited availability of coronavirus testing has been well documented across the nation, and here in San Diego, but identifying who is immune through antibody tests could help us determine who’s safe to interact with the public.