INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — We’re learning more about the importance of tracking COVID-19 antibodies.
These are typically developed in people who have had coronavirus and recovered.
Indiana announced it would be doing these tests randomly throughout the state to better understand the virus.
Some people have already paid for these tests on their own.
Last week, Andrew Wolverton was one of them.
“Fifty dollars for testing and essentially, they just do a quick finger prick and wait about 15 minutes for the test results to come back,” said Wolverton. “It was a pretty seamless process.”
“Do you mind sharing your results?” asked reporter Kayla Sullivan.
“I tested negative. So, that means that I could still contract COVID-19,” explained Wolverton.
At first, Wolverton thought he wanted a positive test result.
“After thinking about it, I was like I’m actually glad I’m negative because that way I don’t feel like I have been potentially I have been spreading that to other people,” said Wolverton.
IU Fairbanks School of Public Health Department Chair Dr. Nir Menachemi said these tests are helpful, but they aren’t foolproof. Results shouldn’t be taken as 100 percent accurate at this time.
“We don’t know if antibodies means immunity,” said Menachemi. “But we still need to know how far the virus has gone.”
Dr. Menachemi said it takes several weeks after infection for antibodies to circulate. So, some people could have contracted the virus, tested negative, but develop antibodies later.
Researchers are hoping to find out whether the antibodies behave the same way they do for other viruses.
“Other viruses, you have immunity for the rest of your life, sometimes you might have immunity only for a couple of weeks,” explained Menachemi.
The only way to find out, is through testing and analysis. IU Fairbanks is partnering with the state, sending out texts, calls, postcards signing people up for sampling as early as tomorrow. It’s volunteer but they will contact you.
“People will be able to be enrolled every day until Wednesday, which will be the last day of phase one,” said Menachemi.
There will be several waves of this study in order to get the most information possible. The research could continue for years.
“We are not going to lay down and let this virus sort of roll over us we are going to fight until the last minute so that we can get over this as a community, as a state as fast as possible,” said Menachemi.
If you aren’t contacted, experts say there is no harm in paying for tests on your own, if you understand they aren’t entirely conclusive.
“Was it worth the 50 dollars?” asked reporter Kayla Sullivan to Andrew Wolverton.
“I feel like it was,” said Wolverton. “It put a little bit of ease to mind.”
Preliminary results on the study are expected soon, they could impact Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s decision to open the state’s economy.