Beginning this week, all Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) and Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber employees will have the option to have the COVID-19 IgG antibody test. The antibody test is a simple blood draw that indicates if a person had the virus that causes COVID-19 and has developed antibodies against it. This is helpful because it can indicate whether someone has been previously infected, or was exposed 10-21 days ago.
The IgG antibody test is intended for use as an aid in identifying individuals with an immune response, a detection of antibodies, to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or prior infection. IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are generally detectable in blood at least 10-21 days after initial infection, although the duration of time antibodies are present post-infection is not well characterized. Negative results do not preclude acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. If acute infection is suspected, molecular (PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing for SARS-CoV-2 is necessary.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Csikos said, “Because this is a new virus and was previously unknown, we are learning more every day. Many experts are saying more testing is needed to reopen the economy. It is not known for certain whether individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 who subsequently recover will be protected, either fully or partially, from future infection or how long protective immunity may last. Some evidence suggests that a positive IgG antibody test indicates that a patient has some level of protection against reinfection with COVID-19.”
Beginning next week, CSSMCW will offer COVID-19 IgG antibody testing to workplaces. Testing is key to understanding the prevalence of coronavirus in an area, whether an employee has been previously infected, and making informed decisions regarding staff returning to work.
Dr. Csikos added, “It is recommended that employees who test positive to the IgG antibody test seek guidance from their primary care provider as to whether they should be screened with molecular testing (PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction) to ensure they are no longer in a contagious state. It is important to note that negative IgG results do not rule out current SARS-CoV-2 infection, as results may not portray someone in early stage of the disease (approximately days 1-6). And, as always, anyone suspecting current infection should also request PCR testing from their primary care provider.”
Any workplaces interested in scheduling group IgG antibody testing can contact the CSSMCW Laboratory by calling 814-467-3739.
Testing for individuals is currently available with a physician’s order. The out-of-pocket cost is $100. Check with your insurance company to determine if all or a portion of your test is covered.
Antibody testing has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.
About Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber
Founded in 1906, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) is an independent, non-profit acute care hospital in northern Somerset County, bordering Cambria County. The 54-bed hospital shares a campus and collaborates with Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber (CSSIMMW), a private, non-profit biomedical research center. With more than 450 employees, CSSMCW is the fourth largest employer in Somerset County. CSSMCW’s mission is to provide excellence in personalized, quality health care services through innovation, research and education in response to community needs. For more information visit www.windbercare.org.