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Antibody testing to ramp up in West Palm Beach to combat coronavirus

Posted at 10:08 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 10:11:01-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Medical laboratories across South Florida are rolling out a different kind of coronavirus test this week.

These tests are for antibodies, which will show if people have had COVID-19.

Some of those being examined for antibodies are front line workers who quarantined themselves because they had symptoms, but were never tested because tests were in short supply.

Others like 72-year-old George Gesse made the trip to Arc Point Labs in West Palm Beach because he and his wife were exposed to a relative who later became sick with the virus.

"We’ve been self-isolating for three weeks now, so we’ve been together the entire time," said Gesse.

"These are kind of the next steps," said Chris Mayer, the President of the Arc Point Labs West Palm Beach branch. He stressed these antibody tests are for those who may have had coronavirus, but are no longer sick.

Mayer said front line emergency workers benefit if they’ve recovered from the virus.

"You’re, at least by most medical standards right now, are going to have some level of immunity," said Mayer. "So you’re going to be less at risk of yourself to contract again."

Another benefit to those whose tests reveal they once had the coronavirus is they can donate their blood plasma which has antibodies that will help sicker coronavirus patients recover.

Gesse got his test results back in 10 minutes. He tested negative, meaning he did not have COVID-19.

"I would have preferred to pass," said Gesse. "It would mean we would have the antibodies."

Arc Point Labs has 750 test kits available, and is among a small number of labs that plant to ramp up testing for antibodies this week.

Arc Point Labs tests by appointment only. To set up an appointment, click here.