NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A rush for answers in a sea of mixed messages, Middle Tennessee physicians are focused on finding solutions.
“There are about 170 different testing options.”
COVID-19 antibody tests, nearly 200 are available, but the vast majority are not approved by the FDA, said Dr. Nabil Boutros.
Boutros and Dr. Jason Rubino operate Physicians Urgent Care, three facilities in Williamson County, each office now offering an antibody test.
“If you have a positive test, it is 97.3 percent likely it is positive for COVID-19 antibodies,” said Boutros.
That’s close to crystal clear, the rest, not as much. Even when antibodies are found, that doesn’t come with a guarantee.
“It can certainly provide you some comfort,” he said. “But even if you have a test result that says you are positive, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are not at risk of developing a repeat infection.”
The presence of antibodies does not prove immunity. It’s far too soon in the life of COVID-19 to make that conclusion.
At Physicians Urgent Care, bloodwork is taken and sent to a lab. It’s one of only a dozen or so tests given a EUA by the government – an Emergency Use Authorization. The turnaround is about 24 hours. It’s reliable. But the very nature of this virus is unreliable, that’s what Boutros is telling his patients.
“Some people aren’t going to hear the conversation we have with them. They’re going to read something on the news, okay if I have a positive test (they assume) I’m invincible,” said Boutros. “We’re being very careful to educate patients that’s not necessarily the case.”
About eight percent of tests may have a false negative, meaning, you have had COVID-19 but the antibodies didn’t show in the test.
For more information on Physicians Urgent Care, testing locations and hours, visit physiciansurgentcare.com.