An antibody test developed by M Health Fairview is now available for anyone to get – without a doctor's order.
The $45 test, which is FDA-approved and is 99 percent accurate, is now available at six M Health Fairview locations in Minnesota. Previously, the antibody test was only available if a doctor ordered it for a patient.
There is also a $55 antibody test and reflex titer that's available, which is not FDA-approved. The titer is performed to provide a semi-quantitative measure of the level of IgG antibodies present, M Health Fairview says.
Here's where you can get an antibody test by appointment:
- M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming
- M Health Fairview Clinics and Surgery Center in Maple Grove
- M Health Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton
- M Health Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville
- M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina
- M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, West Bank in Minneapolis
The antibody test, also called a serologic test, uses a blood sample to determine if someone has developed an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is not designed to diagnose if someone currently has COVID-19 – a diagnostic (also called PCR or viral) test is needed to do that.
If the antibody test is positive, it is a sign that the person previously had the virus. However, it's not known if having antibodies to the virus makes someone immune to future infection, so even if you have a positive antibody test, you should still wear a mask and practice social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
M Health Fairview says people who were exposed to the virus more than 14 days ago – it takes that long for antibodies to develop after the initial exposure, however not everyone will develop antibodies – may want to get an antibody test. That includes people who had coronavirus symptoms but weren't able to get a diagnostic test while they were sick and people who believe they were exposed but didn't ever show symptoms.
Even though an antibody test can't currently tell someone if they're immune to the coronavirus, it can provide important public health data about COVID-19 transmission, which health officials can use to develop better protections to reduce the virus' spread, M Health Fairview notes.
The Minnesota Department of Health's coronavirus testing website has information about where to get a diagnostic test in Minnesota.