The Secret Way You Can Get a Free Coronavirus Antibody Test
If you want to know if you've already had COVID-19, here's your chance to get an answer at no cost.
Tracking COVID-19 has been a huge challenge amid the pandemic. And with states entering the early phases of their reopening plans, many people eager to venture outside again are anxious to know if they've already contracted the novel coronavirus with few or no symptoms. Luckily, testing facilities have finally caught up to demand and are able to process the large number of patients who would like more information on their exposure to the virus. And if you're willing to do a good deed, you can get your antibody test absolutely free. How? Just by donating blood.
As supplies at blood banks around the country have dwindled due to restrictions on drives, Vitalant, one of the country's largest non-profit blood services, is offering to cover the cost of patients' antibody tests in an effort to bring in more crucial donations. "Literally every single day we are in situations where we need people to show up. It's a critical shortage," Cliff Numark, chief of marketing for Vitalant, told NJ.com. "All those surgeries came back and now we have a situation where we need all those people to show up for critical hospital procedures. People should give as soon as they can."
Unlike the notorious nasal swab tests that check for current viral infection, antibody tests rely on drawing blood to check if someone has built up antibodies against the virus—meaning they've previously been infected. And while antibody tests have been called out for their lack of accuracy, Vitalant is relying on the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Vitros test, which is considered to be one of the best options currently available. The results will come back to patients in about two weeks.
Patients who test positive may also be helpful in treating those currently suffering from the disease thanks to convalescent plasma, another effective treatment against the virus. After all, while antibodies don't ensure immunity against the virus, knowing that you've helped someone else in a time of need never hurts. And for more on coronavirus testing, check out The CDC's Major Coronavirus Testing Mistake That May Affect You.