A private lab with offices in Phoenix and Tucson has begun offering rapid antibody testing for COVID-19 as the White House calls for more widespread evaluations.
Results from a finger prick come back in 10 to 20 minutes and are fairly accurate, Tim Terrill, director of the ARCpoint Labs site in north Scottsdale said.
“This test is meant for someone with no active symptoms,” Terrill said.
A lot of people getting tested, Terrill said because they, “want to go back to work or [employers] in essential businesses want to know if their workers have had it or are clear or have some type of infection going on but they’re not showing symptoms.”
The tests can turn up two types of antibodies, immunoglobulin M, which are short term, and immunoglobulin G, which stay in the blood longer. Accuracy is in the 90s.
“Your body builds IgM antibodies fairly quickly after active infection for a few days to fight it off,” Terrill said. “It’s kind of like the frontline soldiers that go in and fight the battle.”
As the virus winds down the body starts to build long-term antibodies, IgG.
“People with IgG antibodies – no one knows how long yet – in some cases are functionally immune for quite some time,” he said.
Terrill added someone who tested for IgG “can go about normal activities.”
But anyone with IgM antibodies should stay isolated after testing. The federal quarantine is 14 days at home for those without life-threatening symptoms.
“There’s potential if you have active IgM antibodies that you still have active infection.”
Requests for the tests have been overwhelming. Early on, the lab ran out of tests and had to wait two or three days for more, Terrill said.
Now, there’s a wait list online for the by-appointment-only test.
The tests aren’t covered by insurance and they aren’t an official diagnosis.
“We just provide testing,” said Terill.
Click here to request an appointment.