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Telescope Health Begins COVID-19 Antibody Testing Program In Jacksonville

After taking the antibody test at a lab, results should get back to the patient within two to three days
After taking the antibody test at a lab, results should get back to the patient within two to three days

Telescope Health has started coordinating with patients to get them antibody testing. 

After a virtual visit with a Telescope physician, patients can go to either LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics to get a blood test for antibodies. 

The test will be ready to complete at the lab two hours after the conclusion of the visit with Telescope, according to Telescope COO Matthew Thompson.

Thompson said the tests are part of a program launched Monday that is integral to getting an idea of how COVID-19 has spread across the First Coast. 

“It most definitely will show people who have already recovered from an infection and those who haven't been exposed at all yet,” Thompson said. “Those are two parts of the workforce that we really want to get back to work in Jacksonville.”

Related:  Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

After taking the test, results will be given to the patient within two to three days. 

If results come back showing antibodies are elevated, it shows that the person is at the end of a COVID-19 infection. 

“We're telling people to continue to isolate at home for a week if that's the case,” Thompson said. 

The only qualification for the test is not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or more. People who were never diagnosed with coronavirus and haven’t shown any symptoms, but want to know if they were still exposed and asymptomatic can still be tested. 

Thompson said the antibodies show up in higher numbers at the end of the infection, or after it has completely run its course through the body. 

“We're using these tests to say ‘when I was sick six weeks ago, was that due to COVID-19?’” Thompson said. “I really wish I could tell you, and so these tests have the ability to do that.”

LabCorp is testing for two types of antibodies - IgG and IgM. IgG antibodies are longer-term antibodies, while IgM antibodies show up earlier as the body is developing resistance against the coronavirus. 

Quest Diagnostics is only testing for IgG antibodies right now, according to Thompson. 

Thompson suggests these antibody tests as opposed to others since these are trusted and approved by the FDA. 

“Unfortunately, there's a lot of these that weren't even approved that come from overseas, that come from China,” Thompson said. “They weren't approved by the governing bodies in those countries to use, and yet they've made it over here.”

Thompson said that each test costs around $65, not including the testing fees. He said they are covered by insurance in many cases. The Telescope Health consultation costs an additional $25.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

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