Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic, U of M are now offering antibody tests

Gov. Tim Walz says he wants Minnesota to ramp up its testing before it goes back to work.
Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 7.29.56 AM

Antibody tests that can indicate whether patients have recently had the COVID-19 virus are now being rolled out by the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic announced on Monday that its new serology test that can identify the immune response to the virus is now available to more healthcare organizations, and it's working with state and federal officials to ensure it can be made available to frontline staff such as hospital and clinic workers.

Initially, it will be able to conduct 8,000 tests per day at lab locations across its extensive system, but "capacity will be ramped up as quickly as possible," with testing carried out 24 hours a day.

But the Mayo has cautioned that the results of the serology test aren't definitive, saying the test detects antibodies to the virus, but doesn't diagnose recent or active infection, and "cannot pinpoint the date of the exposure."

“A positive serology result suggests the patient is less likely to get infected or re-infected compared with individuals who do not have any antibodies in their blood," said Elitza Theel, Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory.

"However, we are continuing to learn about the level and duration of protective immunity, and we can’t definitively say how long protective immunity may last."

So far the Mayo has conducted 86 tests in patients and detected antibodies in 12 of them, which suggests they've previously recovered from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports that the University of Minnesota's antibody test will be launched this week at M Health Fairview's Bethesda Hospital, which is a designated coronavirus-only hospital.

Doctors, nurses and other staff members will be prioritized for the tests, with the newspaper noting the U has the capacity to make at least 100,000 tests.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz cited serology testing as a crucial part of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He wants the state to reach a point where it can carry out 40,000 tests a week – comprising a mixture of coronavirus diagnostic tests and the antibody tests – before he is comfortable lifting the Stay at Home orders he has in place to enforce social distancing.

He says the state needs a robust "test, trace, isolate" process in place to identify those with coronavirus and those they've been in contact with, and isolate them so it can't spread.

It's this process that has been used to successful effect in countries that have managed to limit the impact of the virus, such as South Korea.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 5.14.36 PM

Mayor Carter announces COVID vaccine mandate for St. Paul city workers

It comes after Minneapolis announced the requirement for vaccines or regular testing for city workers in September.

two twelve medical center chaska GSV

Ridgeview cutting hours at 2 Minnesota urgent care locations

Hours of operation at a third location are also being shifted earlier.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Mpls. candidate tries to 'set the record straight' about where he lives

Questions about Ward 9 candidate Mickey Moore's residency are quickly piling up.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.49.16 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 51 of 87 Minnesota counties

Four of the 10 lowest case rates are metro-area counties.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

Allina mental health workers vote to unionize

Concerns over safety led the workers to unionize.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minnesota reports COVID deaths of teen student, 2 school staffers

Cases in schools rose again in the past week, though there are signs cases may have peaked.

Proctor football

Investigation of alleged misconduct on Proctor football team nears conclusion

The football team canceled its season and the coach subsequently resigned.

minnesota house of representatives

Minnesota House will continue hybrid operations, require masks in 2022

The Speaker of the House announced the plans in a memo to members and staff on Thursday.


Mayo clinic

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic set to roll out antibody test next week

But it will be a while before the test is broadly available.

coronavirus, covid-19, doctor

U of M, Mayo Clinic testing provides hope for Minnesota in COVID-19 fight

Both institutions are in the process of preparing to deploy the tests to the public.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic says it can handle enough tests per day to end MN's shutdown

Gov. Tim Walz set a target of 5,000 tests a day, which the Mayo says it can handle.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 1.50.15 PM

VP Pence admits he should have worn mask at Mayo Clinic

The vice president's lack of mask overshadowed what Gov. Tim Walz said was a productive visit.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Coronavirus: Pandemic perspectives from U of M expert, Mayo doctor

A Mayo doctor says 80% of people who get the virus won't even know they have it.

Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 11.58.58 AM

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic develops its own COVID-19 test

The U.S. has tested significantly fewer people for coronavirus compared to some other nations.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

Coronavirus: Announcement on testing expected in coming days

The Walz Administration has been working on testing with Mayo Clinic and M Health Fairview.

novel coronavirus, covid-19, sars-cov-2

Coronavirus: What antibody testing can and can't tell Minnesota

Minnesota has not yet rolled out widespread antibody testing.