Home COVID-19 If You Tested Positive for COVID-19 Antibodies via City MD, You Should Read This

If You Tested Positive for COVID-19 Antibodies via City MD, You Should Read This

by Jennifer Tripucka
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Antibody testing is the new buzzword when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The common perception is that if you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, you’re “safe” from COVID-19 and are immune. But there are many factors in antibody testing, and not all tests are created equal {listen here to our latest podcast about this}. For those who received a City MD antibody test in New York or New Jersey, it’s important to note that the urgent care chain just updated its messaging to patients who have tested positive — changing the language about immunity.

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City MD released the following statement Tuesday:

“All CityMD patients getting the COVID-19 antibody test are given several documents (including printed discharge instructions and an FAQ) explaining that a positive result does not necessarily mean they have long-term immunity to COVID-19. Some CityMD patients received additional information from our patient portal saying a positive result on the COVID-19 antibody test confers immunity.

Many public health experts have said that the presence of antibodies in a patient means it is very likely that the patient has some degree of immunity. That said, we were concerned that the portal message might create some confusion for our patients, so we decided to remove that language from the portal message. We have contacted all affected patients and apologize for the confusion.”

See More: COVID-19 Testing Sites in New Jersey + Your FAQs Answered

A reporter for CNBC reached out about the discrepancy and was told by City MD spokesman Matt Gove that it was an “an editing error” which has been corrected.

Essentially, the statement previously read that if you tested positive for antibodies, you’re immune, but they’re now changing their messaging —  it is a good thing to test positive, but does not guarantee the length or level of immunity. It’s also important to note that there has been much controversy about the validity and accuracy of many antibody tests.

We called City MD to confirm, and their voice answering service shared, “It is still unclear if a positive antibody test means you are immune to future infections,” but that all testing platforms through City MD use testing platforms approved under FDA EUAs.

According to the FDA’s website in a post from May 4th, “It is not accurate for developers to claim their test was authorized by the FDA if an EUA was not granted for the tests, nor should they be distributing their test if it has not been properly validated.” So, regardless of where you’re getting your antibody test from, you should ask if it was authorized by the FDA.

City MD offers both a COVID-19 PCR test, as well as a COVID-19 antibody test.  In April, CityMD made the tests available without an appointment at all centers to those who tested positive for COVID, those who believe they had it and have been symptom-free for at least two weeks, and for those who believe they were exposed to the virus. There’s no charge from the urgent care center for the testing — they waive insurance co-pays.

If you test positive for antibodies, former FDA Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts said to ABC News, means you were exposed to the virus, but does not guarantee immunity.

Read More: Latest Jersey City + Hoboken COVID-19 Updates as of May 13, 2020

“Understanding who has already gone through COVID and come out on the other end of the tunnel is crucially important,” Pitts said to ABC News.

“But health experts are still unsure about the level of immunity those antibodies could provide. Doctors have said they don’t have enough evidence to know if the antibodies prevent someone from being re-infected.”

If you’d like to learn more about antibody testing and levels of immunity, please listen to our podcast Q+A with Dr. Boguslavsky here

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