**$120 fee: Pre-Order Here! **Does not include cost for blood draw: $40 at Pekoe. Requires scheduling. (We are working on trying to find a way to reduce the cost of blood draw… stay tuned!!)
**Tests will be available 5/7!
New IgM + IgG Antibody Test For The Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A Less Invasive And Safer Test Option With Information On Immunity
WHAT IS THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (SARS-COV-2) AND THE DISEASE IT CAUSES?
The Novel Coronavirus is a single-strand RNA coronavirus that first appeared in 2019, also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by this virus is called COVID -19 which stands for Corona Virus Disease first detected in 2019. This virus has caused a global pandemic, leading to hundreds of thousands to become infected around the world and causing thousands of deaths. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. Some who are infected have relatively minimal symptoms, while others, particularly those most vulnerable (the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions) can become severely ill, often with pneumonia-like symptoms, sometimes with the infection leading to sepsis and death. Cases in the United States are on the rise and effective and accurate testing is vital to helping slow the spread of the virus.
WHY TEST FOR SARS-COV-2 ANTIBODIES IN BLOOD?
Many currently available tests for SARS-CoV-2 virus are a RT-PCR test (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) done via an invasive and often painful nasal swab. This method of sample collection also puts the staff collecting the sample at risk for exposure to the virus. The Great Plains Laboratory (GPL) has been conducting IgG and IgE antibody blood tests for more than 20 years, offering both serum and dried blood spot sample options. The SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test from is less invasive than the nasal swab test for the patient (currently available as a blood draw) and safer for the staff conducting the test, since they are less likely to be exposed to the virus during sample collection.
The SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test from GPL, a fully automated, bead-based immunoassay, looks for both IgM and IgG antibodies to the virus. The presence of IgM antibodies indicates the patient recently contracted the virus, as IgM antibodies are the first to be produced in response to a virus. The presence of IgG antibodies indicates the patient has had the virus for a longer period of time, as IgG immunoglobulin starts to be produced as IgM antibodies begin to decrease. IgG may continue to be produced for years while IgM antibodies commonly disappear after some weeks. The higher someone’s IgG antibodies, the less likely they are to get re-infected with the virus in the future. Although such immunity is common for many viruses, such immunity for SARS-CoV-2 virus has not yet been absolutely proven.
If high amounts of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus are proven to confer immunity from further infections, plasma from patients who have recovered and have high amounts of antibodies could be transferred to someone who is currently infected with the virus to control the virus infection.
HOW IS ANTIBODY TESTING DIFFERENT THAN RT-PCR TESTING?
Antibody tests assess the ability of the body to protect against various diseases. People develop antibodies shortly after exposure to a variety of disease pathogens. People who have not been exposed to a particular pathogen will not develop antibodies to that pathogen. RT-PCR testing for a particular coronavirus pathogen is a test for the presence of the virus on the mucosal membranes of the nasal passages and does not give any information about immunity to the virus.
WHY IS ANTIBODY TESTING FOR THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS MORE USEFUL THAN RT-PCR TECHNOLOGY?
- Combining both the IgM and IgG antibody tests helps determine whether someone is currently infected, if they’ve been infected in the past, how long ago the patient was infected, and whether the patient may now have immunity.
- Identifying recovered patients with high IgG antibodies may lead to treatment for those currently infected.
- With immunoassays, there is no risk for cross-contamination from nucleic acids that might contaminate the laboratory using RT-PCR technology.
- The RT-PCR sampling process may be less stable than antibody testing.
STUDY OF INTERFERENCES BY OTHER SIMILAR CORONA VIRUSES
Studies of the specificity of the antibody tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus used at The Great Plains Laboratory show there is no interference with other coronaviruses such as CoV-OC43, CoV-229E and CoV-NL63, and CoV-HKU1 viruses. Other antibody tests may not have been evaluated for these interferences.
SAMPLE REQUIREMENT: 2 ML OF SERUM
EXPECTED TURNAROUND TIME FOR RESULTS: 48-72 HOURS
Pre-Order Here!! We will inform you when the tests are in, and you can schedule your blood draw!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are IgM and IgG antibodies?
Upon infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the patient’s immune system tries to fight the virus by producing blood-circulating molecules known as antibodies. IgM is a class of antibodies that appears early after an infection (as early as 3-5 days). IgM is the body’s first line of defense against a foreign antigen. IgG is another class of antibodies that appears later and gradually replaces the IgM antibodies. Usually, IgG antibodies appear in the blood, circulation within 3-4 weeks after initial infection. The presence of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgM and/or IgG antibodies in the blood of a patient is a strong indication that the patient has been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The presence of IgG antibodies with the absence of IgM antibodies indicate that the infection likely occurred at least 4-6 weeks in the past.
What is the meaning of positive or negative results for IgG and IgM antibody tests?
A positive test for either SARS-CoV-2 IgM or SARS-COV-2 IgG provides strong evidence of the infection of a patient with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A positive test for SARS CoV-2 IgM alone indicates that the infection was recent (within a week). A positive test for SARS CoV-2 IgG indicates that the patient had an infection for at least 3 weeks or more. During intermediate times after infection, both IgM and IgG antibodies against SARS-COV-2 may be positive. After about 6 weeks since the beginning of the infection, IgM antibodies will be negative while IgG antibodies will be positive. For many infections, the presence of high IgG antibodies is associated with immunity and it is suspected, but not yet proven, that such will be the case with immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
How are the IgM and IgG tests helpful for those that already had PCR nucleic acid tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
The presence of SARS-CoV-2 IgM or IgG antibodies in the blood of patient provides a second and independent evidence of the infection of a patient who may have been tested positive with the standard nucleic acid test (RT-qPCR test). Both IgM and IgG assays double confirm the accuracy of the RT-qPCR test results. It is known that the RT-qPCR test often gives false negative results due to inadequate or inappropriate sampling procedure. The serological tests for IgM and IgG can also provide earlier detection of potential positive patients who may not have immediate access to the RT-qPCR test. The PCR test may not detect the virus in patients who have been previously infected but have since recovered while the antibody test is very unlikely to have such a deficiency.