A Utah company has begun offering coronavirus antibody testing to the general public. Olympus Health and and Performance is first private company in the state offering the test that shows if a patient has developed antibodies for the virus through exposure. Results are available in 10 minutes or less.
Olympus’ test determines whether a patient has developed IgG and IgM antibodies for the disease. Unlike other tests being administered statewide, it does not determine if a patient is actively infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Olympus has received the go-ahead for emergency distribution and use of the test by the FDA. They are currently widely used in Europe where it is CE-marked, which means it’s manufactured to European Economic Area standards for health, safety and environmental protection.
Since tests recently became available, demand has outpaced initial projections, Olympus said.
“There’s pent-up demand in our community in that so many people have been eager for this antibody test to see if they have developed protective antibodies for the virus,” said Lauren Lightfield, CEO of Olympus Health and Performance. “So far, we’ve tested over 400 people, and we’re finding the overall positive rate to be about 5.4 percent, very similar to what has been described for asymptomatic people in other areas of the country.” Lightfield said her company is working with state health officials to report test results to track the spread and slowing of the virus.
Dr. Robert Sawyer, chief scientific officer at Olympus, said it’s important to note the distinction between this test and COVID-19 tests available to the public.
“This new test only identifies whether you’ve developed the antibodies for the disease. It is not a test to see if you currently carry the virus or have COVID-19,” he said. “If you’ve been exposed to or are infected by the coronavirus but have not yet developed antibodies, this test may not be able to identify your exposure until more time has passed. On the other hand, if you are tested and we detect no coronavirus antibodies in your blood, it means you are more susceptible to getting ill from the coronavirus. We continue to stress you should continue to follow all CDC and local government recommendations for minimizing your exposure to the virus.”
Olympus offers mobile testing, with nurses who go to homes to administer the test. The tests cost $150 and because of demand are limited. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit https://utahcoronavirustest.com/.