LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- Viracor Clinical Diagnostics in Lee’s Summit has validated an antibody test they’re now running in their lab.
While the test is meant to help determine immunity to the COVID-19 virus, some say the tests provide a false sense of security.
Our Abigael Jaymes spoke with area doctors to determine whether the test is one to trust.
The antibody test was developed by Viracor’s affiliate Gold Standard Diagnostics. After validating, Viracor is now accepting samples for the antibody testing as of this week.
Michelle Altrich, President of Viracor Clinical Diagnostics, said antibody testing can help us understand the course the pandemic is taking.
“Antibody testing is a sign that you’ve had the virus in the past,” she said. “In order to understand really the number of people that have had the virus, we can now use antibody testing to give us an idea of what that prevalence really looks like.”
The local lab said they have the capacity to turn out more than 2,000 tests per day with a 24-hour turnaround time.
Dr. Lee Norman with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment addressed the use of antibody tests on Friday, saying generic “coronavirus” antibody tests fall short.
“We have to have it be COVID-19 specific,” said Dr. Norman. “We could test all of us in here and some of us would be positive for coronavirus and it wouldn’t mean anything except that we had a cold in our past.”
Altrich said that, in a preliminary study, their antibody tests were 100% accurate in finding antibodies in COVID-19 positive patient samples.
“The antibodies are specific for a very small part of the virus: the nucleoprotein,” she said.
She said she’s confident in their testing.
“The test has very good sensitivity and specificity,” Altrich said. “And, currently working with the FDA to get that EAU approval, which is really the gold stamp that’s needed.”
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Infectious Disease Physician for the University of Kansas Health Systems, says Viracor has a history of good tests with accurate results. Although they aren’t using their antibody tests now, they may in the future.
“Our diagnostic group here is looking at all of those available testing companies to find out which one will best fit into our health system,” Dr. Hawkinson said.
Altrich said treatments using plasma are currently being evaluated for COVID-19. She said people who test positive for the virus with the use of an antibody test could potentially qualify to be evaluated as a plasma donor. That could then be used for future treatment on patients.