COVID-19 Antibody Testing Now Available
HNL Lab Medicine is now offering antibody blood tests for the new coronavirus (COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2). If you think you may have had COVID-19 or if you had known exposure to the coronavirus, but never received COVID-19 testing, the antibody test may provide answers.
What is a COVID-19 antibody test?
The body produces antibodies as part of an immune response to viruses. Once someone becomes exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, they may become sick. This antibody test (sometimes referred to as a serology test) checks for the presence of antibodies that the body would have created in response to the coronavirus. It usually takes around 10 to 18 days to produce enough antibodies to be detected in the blood.
Please note: This test is different from the COVID-19 PCR swab test, which indicates if you have an active infection and that the virus is present. If you think you may have COVID-19, visit LVHN.org/COVID19 to learn about screenings, testing and care.
If I test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, does that mean I won’t get sick again?
At this time, it is unknown what level of antibodies are needed to protect you from becoming reinfected with the coronavirus or how long that protection will last. With most viruses the presence of antibodies provides a level of immunity to that virus. It’s also important to remember that even if you have antibodies, you still have the potential to be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus and spread it to others.
What does a negative COVID-19 test result mean?
A negative test result means that the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in your body.
A false-negative result may occur if your blood is drawn before it has produced enough IgG antibodies for the test to detect. This is why antibody testing is not recommended until at least 14 days after your symptoms have resolved.
Should I get a COVID-19 antibody test?
The test results, along with other information, may help your health care provider make informed recommendations about your care. It’s important to discuss the results with your provider to receive guidance on what your test results mean for your specific health needs. Test results may also provide you with peace of mind. Each person’s situation is unique so the answer to this question may vary.
Are all COVID-19 antibody tests the same?
No, there are multiple antibody tests available for COVID-19 with variable performance, so it’s important to have your test performed at a reputable laboratory. HNL Lab Medicine has been a trusted resource in our community for more than 21 years. They are utilizing an FDA-authorized antibody test, which has a reported specificity of 99.3%.
How can I receive COVID-19 antibody testing?
HNL Lab Medicine now offers two options to help people access the care they need while managing the cost of lab services.
- Self-pay – This option requires a prescription from a health care provider and costs $38.90. The self-pay option is available to everyone but is especially beneficial for those who are uninsured, underinsured or have high deductible plans. To self-pay, bring your prescription/lab order with you. Before your blood is drawn, inform the phlebotomist that you would like to self-pay.
- Lab Tests Direct – This option allows you to order the COVID-19 antibody blood test without a prescription from a health care provider. It costs $97. These results can be shared with your health care provider(s).
You can have your blood drawn at an HNL Lab Medicine Patient Center location and no appointment is needed. During the pandemic, select HNL Lab Medicine Patient Centers are closed or have reduced hours. Find all available locations at HNL.com/locations. You can also call HNL Lab Medicine Customer Care at 877-402-4221. For more information about COVID-19 antibody tests, visit the HNL Lab Medicine website.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses, three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; Coordinated Health, which includes two hospital campuses, nearly two dozen multispecialty locations including ambulatory surgery centers and orthopedic injury centers in northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey; 26 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 22 ExpressCARE including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation, and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care for adults and children, burn care at the Regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and robotic surgery in 10 specialties. Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, Lehigh Valley Heart Institute, and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence physicians provide the most advanced treatments. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative that helps community providers improve the quality of cancer care and offers access to MSK clinical trials. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the community’s only children’s hospital, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is the region’s only hospital nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedics and has been recognized among Pennsylvania’s top five hospitals for six consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are the region’s only Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.