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Baton Rouge General Gives Update on Antibody Testing

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General

BATON ROUGE, La. – In just under a week, Baton Rouge General (BRG) has performed 432 antibody tests, with 4.4% of them confirmed positive. A positive test indicates that a person was likely infected with COVID-19 and that their body has produced antibodies, which are specific proteins made in response to infections.

There are many different types of antibody tests available, but BRG is using the COR2G serology test developed by Mayo Clinic, which yields a 98.6% specificity (ability of the test to correctly identify those with antibodies). The samples are sent to the Mayo Clinic Laboratory to analyze for the presence of antibodies. See illustration. Mayo Clinic’s test specifically detects antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Though the tests are in high demand, experts caution that a positive test does not mean a person is immune or won’t catch the virus again. “We are still, as a global community, trying to understand the role of antibodies in long-term protection against the virus,” said Dr. Rebecca Christofferson, Assistant Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. In the meantime, antibody tests are a valuable tool in better understanding how widespread COVID-19 has been in a community. Early on, diagnostic testing was limited to those experiencing moderate or severe symptoms of the virus. Milder version of the virus would not have been tested.

“Qualitatively, these data suggest that a significant portion of our community has been exposed to the virus compared to just the case counts,” said Dr. Christofferson. But, it's important to note that BRG’s antibody test results represent a small portion of the community. “To be able to accurately quantify the rate of exposure throughout our community, a randomized study will need careful planning and execution.”

BRG began offering the COVID-19 antibody testing on April 22 at two of its Express Care locations – Highland Village and Dutchtown. Antibody testing is best for those who experienced symptoms of COVID-19. Antibodies develop between eight and 14 days after the onset of symptoms, so it’s best to wait at least 10 days after initial symptom onset or 10 days after a known exposure to COVID-19 to be tested for the most accurate result.

For more information on BRG’s antibody testing, click here.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with 588 licensed beds between two campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as an affiliate of Tulane University School of Medicine, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit BRGeneral.org, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BatonRougeGeneral and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.

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