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Several private labs have launched testing for novel coronavirus antibodies. Those without any symptoms and willing to pay can get the test. Those with symptoms confirmed by doctors can get tests determining whether they suffer from the COVID-19 disease covered by their health insurance companies. Alpha Medical launched testing for antibodies last Tuesday and Medirex has begun testing as well.
While polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2 is currently the most effective frontline test to determine whether someone is currently infected with the coronavirus, this swab sample test taken from patients’ throats or noses does not show whether the person was exposed to this virus in the past. Past exposure can be determined by antibody tests, or serology tests, which detect antibodies in the blood that our bodies develop in order to fight the virus off. Infected human bodies begin creating the antibodies between the seventh and 11th day since contracting the virus.
Medirex offers two kinds of blood antibody tests. The first one is for immunoglobulin G (IgG), i.e. the antibody which remains in the blood for months or even years after exposure to the virus. The second test examines the level of three immunoglobulins in the blood, apart from IgG, immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin M (IgM). The latter two are antibodies that the human bodies create earlier than IgG, but they remain in the bloodstream for a shorter period of time. Alpha Medical offers a test for IgG and IgA. The tests cost between €30 to €50. Clients will get the test results within two to three days.
The results of tests conducted by Alpha Medical so far show that there are some people in Slovakia who were virus-positive but did not show any symptoms of the COVID-19 disease.
“The test results of six of the paying clients showed the presence of IgG antibodies, which indicate that they have overcome COVID-19, or the disease is in the final phase,” said Peter Lednický, general director of Alpha Medical, as cited by the SITA newswire, adding that in the case of four other patients, the level of IgG was borderline. “The interesting thing is that at least five patients no longer had active IgA antibodies, i.e. they completely overcame the disease.”
5. May 2020 at 22:24 | Jana Liptáková