COVID-19 Testing Now
Shifting the paradigm expanding access to testing for everyone
Re-thinking Who Gets Tested
The US has been slow to provide Americans testing for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The most common protocols test either people already having symptoms or exposure to people who are infected. But we know a large and growing number of Americans are harboring the virus and spreading it completely asymptomatic and unaware. Even those of us with symptoms may have already spread the virus for up to 14 days without even knowing.
We set out to change all that and provide testing to everyone without symptoms.
COVID-19 tests are now more available, less expensive, and faster than ever before. Many countries who instituted mass testing are now out of the woods and some of our own experts agree we should be testing everyone. They argue that knowing you test results empower all of us to make safer more educated contact decisions and promote more rational social re-engagement.
The impact of this approach promises to reduce spread while strengthening our resources to support our vulnerable populations, just as it has done in other countries.
The time is now for a paradigm shift in the way we approach testing for COVID-19. I believe strongly that all asymptomatic individuals particularly in high impact groups should be tested now. Blood antibody testing detects (IgG) past and (IgM) recent exposure and nasal/throat swab DNA amplification tests detect virus in the body. These diagnostics need to be fast-tracked and to be made available ASAP for everyone, especially those asymptomatic people and those serving and supporting high risk or vulnerable populations.
Patrick R Yassini, MD ABIHM
Medical Director and Provider, Peak Health Group
You are at high risk of complication because of advanced age, heart or lung disease, or immuno-compromised.
As a key caregiver, you have no choice but to be in close contact to with individual at high risk.
You work in the healthcare setting and therefore are exposed routinely to sick individuals of unknown COVID Status.
A worker in an essential business, you are routinely exposed to the general population many of them symptomatic
In some situations, knowing your COVID-19 exposure status could make a big impact on life.
If this pertains to you, we will draw and process your sample for appropriate COVID-19 testing.
Samples will be sent to Danner laboratory (nasal swab) or Vibrant America (antibody) or processed on site.
Remember, if you have symptoms of infection, then you will NOT be tested as part of this project.
You must consult your doctor or go to an emergency/urgent care facility for suspected COVID-19 infections.
SARS-COV-2 Nasal DNA Amp Testing
non-hmo insurances plans are covering this test with a doctors order
Virtual Doctor's visit for documenting and ordering $50.
COVID-19 NAAT by Danner Labs now billing insurance
Cost = $50 (MD consult) *Lab will bill insurance
SARS-COV-2 Blood Antibody Testing
Vibrant America is still NOT accepting insurance payment for this test
Virtual Doctor's visit for documenting and ordering $50
COVID-19 ImmuneCheck Vibrant has reduced cost to $ 119
Cost= $50 (Blood Draw/Processing) + $119 (Lab Fee)
Why Not Testing Everyone?
The truth is COVID-19 testing is not being offered routinely to healthy asymptomatic individuals unless you happen to be a healthcare worker or first responder. Here are the reasons behind the current paradigm and my comments.
None of the COVID-19 testing available for and used in hospital settings are being diverted for this project. This is a new antibody blood test and not the nasal swab PCR test routinely used in the acute care setting. The only impact this project will have on critically ill hospitalized patients is that this may speed up the availability of tests by expanding the data collection funnel.
Even though there is no treatment available if positive, the results are still valuable. It is just more piece of information for some of us to consider in making the difficult decisions regarding contact with vulnerable populations in our lives.
Clearly, we must use caution at all times when contacting other particularly vulnerable people in the community regardless of our test results. There is an ongoing risk of exposure so we should not see a negative test result as a false sense of protection. However, the presence of IgG antibodies tested in this assay weeks after infection will likely be protective.
At the time of this writing, there are only two COVID-19 tests that I could find which are fully approved by the FDA. Several well-established clinical labs have developed tests which are in various stages of validation. With this project, we are supporting the data collection process needed for FDA clearance so tests production can be ramp up for mass availability sooner.
We have clear understanding of the antibody response from other similar infections. We know initially with exposure, IgM peaks and resolves after about two weeks. After that, we know the predominant antibody is IgG which remains even after symptoms resolve and is considered protective. Only with expanding data collection will we be able to correlate COVID-19 specific antibody profile with its clinical course.
This pandemic has had and will continue to have a devastating economic impact. If knowing information about antibody status empowers some of us to make better exposure decisions, then asymptomatic spread may be dampened slowing spread and speeding recovery as a nation.