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Rapid antibody testing in Monroe could help the fight against COVID-19



MONROE, La. — Taking the rapid antibody test for COVID-19 is simple.

“Really anybody can. This is a good tool to help us see who has actually been exposed, who has had past infection and didn’t know. There’s a lot of people we’ve seen who’ve been asymptomatic and they had no idea,” said Tiffany Terra, Nurse Practitioner at Geaux Family Health.

At Geaux Family Health, they’ve done 300 rapid tests since last week; and to take the test, you drive up, fill out some paperwork, show a drivers license and insurance card, “and then it’s a $40 copay for the test. People are most likely in and out within about 30 minutes,” said Terra.

And if the test comes back positive for antibodies, Terra says it could help those battling the virus now.

“You know the people that are sick in the ventilators, we’re starting to learn that the plasma can help them to heal quicker and so those people with a positive IGG, which is that they’ve had the past infection, they can go give plasma and help those in need,” said Terra.

But since the test is a rapid test, there’s still some gray area after taking it. “Keep in mind, it’s about 80-95% accurate so there are some false positives and some false negatives that can show,” said Trey Fluitt, CEO Specialty Drug Testing.

Fluitt says he’s researching for a better antibody test to provide a more accurate reading.

“We’re working with Seamans, we’re working with Abbott, we’re working with a lot of different vendors that we do business with. Nobody has the method out there with the sensitivity where it should be,” said Fluitt.

And even though rapid tests are only available right now, Fluitt says there’s hope in the future. “We feel like we’re 2-4 weeks away before that hits the market and is available,” said Fluitt.

The rapid antibody test is a prick on your finger and then a 10 minute wait for the results to appear.
If the test comes back positive for IGM, that means you have a current infection and the clinic will take a nasal swab to confirm the diagnosis.