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Kylene Metzger

Media Relations Specialist, Public Relations

May 12, 2020 10:00 AM

University of Utah Health is testing for COVID-19 antibodies through ARUP Laboratories. The COVID-19 antibody test evaluates exposure to COVID-19 by detecting antibodies in a blood sample, which indicates if a person may have had prior COVID-19 infection.

The ARUP test being used is the COVID-19 IgG, by ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). The test is done on serum from a blood draw. Results are reported as “positive” or “negative” for the presence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The report also provides an index value that can be used to measure antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 and to monitor response to the virus over time with repeat testing.

Results are reported as “positive” or “negative.” A positive test result means a patient was exposed to COVID-19 and developed an antibody response to the virus. A positive test does not indicate immunity and does not give an indication of when or where the patient was exposed.

A negative test result means the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were not found in the patient’s sample. This could mean that a patient has not been exposed, an exposure has been too recent for an antibody response to develop, or that exposure did not result in significant antibody development.

University of Utah Health providers can order an antibody test for patients based on specific criteria including if the patient was previously undiagnosed with a respiratory illness or had close contact with a diagnosed COVID-19 patient but did not develop symptoms or did not get tested for COVID-19. A patient must consult with a provider who will determine whether an antibody test is appropriate.

There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19. Testing for COVID-19 antibodies could help health leaders learn more about the new coronavirus. “COVID-19 is brand new in the human population,” says Vincente Planelles, PhD, a virologist at University of Utah Health. “We still have a lot to learn about how to protect ourselves both as individuals and as a society.”




COVID-19 coronavirus ARUP antibody testing