Campbell County Health will soon have the ability to test for certain antibodies to tell who has had the coronavirus, but local health officials say it won’t be used in the same way as the current test.
CCH Chief Operations Officer Colleen Heeter said the organization should have the ability to test for antibodies in May. But unlike the current test, “it’s not a diagnostic test.”
“It just shows that you’ve had exposure,” she said during a CCH board meeting Thursday night.
During Gov. Mark Gordon’s Thursday press conference, state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist went out of her way to say that the antibody test will not be used for symptomatic patients.
Dr. Nick Stamato, chief of medical staff at CCH, said he foresees the antibody test being very useful in the coming months to “identify people who were exposed to get an idea of how many of us were asymptomatic when we were infected.”
“It certainly is not something that will be part of caring for patients in the next few weeks,” he said.
Both Heeter and Stamato said there are many antibody tests out there, and not all of them are medically or scientifically sound.
Stamato said there are about 200 vendors making the antibody tests, and only half of them have filed applications with the FDA. There are some tests that aren’t accurate and others that don’t even test for the correct antibody.
“You have to be really careful in what test you’re choosing and how you’re using it,” Heeter said.