DENVER (CBS4) – National Jewish Health has created an antibody test that detects coronavirus. Officials there made the announcement on Wednesday and said the new testing will be available starting Friday. They said the tests, which are also known as serology tests, have “been submitted for emergency use authorization from the FDA.”
National Jewish Health Pulmonologist Dr. Jay Finigan says their test is more rigorous than a finger prick, “We feel that we are going to be able to detect the virus more reliably.”
The blood will be tested both for the presence of the virus, and the presence of antibodies that indicate a person has had COVID-19 in the past.
“We feel that we are going to be able to detect the virus more reliably,” said Finigan.
The hospital was already conducting drive-up testing for COVID-19, but this new type of test will now be conducted for anyone in the drive-up if they pay a $94 fee and fill out an online form. Others can get the test with a doctor’s referral.
The drive-up tests will be conducted in the parking lot at the corner of East 14th Avenue and Harrison Street. Starting Wednesday, appointments can be made at www.njhealth.org.
“This is not a get-out-of-jail free card. So at this point, we still maintain that everybody still maintain things like social distancing and mask wearing just like everybody else would,” said Finigan.
National Jewish Health President and CEO Michael Salem said the tests, which detect antibodies in the blood and can determine if someone has had coronavirus and developed immunity, “provide important information about who has had COVID-19.”
“It adds an additional invaluable tool to our high-capacity virus testing towards understanding the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the broader population and in charting a path to renewed social and economic activity,” Salem said.
Results will be back in about 24-48 hours.
For those who test positive, Finigan is optimistic but cautious.
“It is possible people who have been exposed to this virus and developed antibodies would not or would have a much lower risk of getting infected in the future,” said Finigan. “That information is not completely known at this time.”