Tests for Covid-19 active infection or Covid-19 antibody (past exposure) are now available
Maryland Primary Care Physicians is now offering tests for infectious Covid-19, as well as for the Covid-19 antibody, at some of its offices. Here’s what you need to know about the two tests.
Covid-19 active infection by PCR Testing
This procedure tests whether you currently have an active Covid-19 infection. Your healthcare provider inserts a 6-inch-long swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between your nose and mouth for 10 seconds and rotates it several times. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to our Central Laboratory for testing. Results are available by the end of the next business day. A positive result means that you had a Covid-19 infection at the time of your test.
Covid-19 antibody (past exposure) testing by Immunoassay
Antibody testing checks a sample of your blood to look for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. These antibodies are produced when you have been infected. Results from the test are available by the end of the next business. A positive result indicates that you were previously infected with the virus.
Antibody tests will not be able to tell you if you are currently infected because it typically takes 1 to 3 weeks to develop antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
With many viral infections, antibodies provide some immunity (protection) from getting the disease again. However, we do not yet know yet if the antibodies that result from infection with SARS-CoV-2 can protect you from reinfection with this virus or how long antibodies to the virus will protect you. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.
Many health insurance companies are covering the cost of coronavirus/COVID-19 testing, so check with your MPCP office to inquire about scheduling a test.