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Got my COVID-19 antibody test results last night

T_R_Oglodyte

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COVID-19 Antibody, IgG result "nonreactive" - i.e., negative.

The University of Washington has developed this test - and it is being deployed to assist health care providers in patient care and to build up information on the general prevalence of the novel corona virus in the population. Getting tested requires an order from a Primary Care Provider. So., at the suggestion of a MD friend, I scheduled a Zoom meeting yesterday morning with my physician. He issued the order. Two hours later I had a blood sample drawn, and eight hours later was notified of the results.

I was told that the test is extremely sensitive, and because of the sensitivity is far more likely to produce a false positive than a false negative. It's also a simple Yes/No, so it gives no indication of the amount of antibody present, or when the infection might have occurred.

Part of the impetus was that back in March, about the time Washington issued SIP requirements, and the pandemic was starting to take off in Washington, I had a mild respiratory infection. We're also not far from the epicenter of the initially identified infection cluster in Snohomish County, and had transited through Everett airport (in Snohomish County) about two weeks earlier (aligning with the virus incubation period). I was in regular communication with my health providers, and triage determined that I wasn't sick enough to warrant a call-in, but I was requested to quarantine myself. After several days of mild respiratory distress, my temperature started rising about late one afternoon. The next morning it was up some more, and by noon time I was noticeably feverish - some body ache, shivering, loss of energy, no appetite, mild nausea. My temp was now at 100 °F. Triage said to keep monitoring and if I hit 101 °F to let them know. By 6 pm I was feeling better, and by 10 pm was completely back to normal. Since then, everything was fine, but I thought, and my physician concurred, that given my history I was a good candidate to have been tested.

Had I come back positive that would have been an interesting outcome. Because apart from transiting the Everett airport, the most likely places for me to have been infected would have been Zihuatanejo, MX, or the plane flight back to Everett. And if I had been infected in Zihua or on the plane, that would have meant the virus was in that region of Mexico at that time.
 
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DaveNV

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Good to know you're negative. Given the background, it made perfect sense to be tested.

But knowing that you're negative, you're still at risk, right? And if your immune system is repressed right now, does that put you at higher risk?

Dave
 

Sandy VDH

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My friend had a strange flu in around the same time period, and swears he had COVID-19. But he responded well to flu meds even though he tested negative for the flu strains there were going around. I need to ask if he has been tested for COVID-19 anti bodies.

Can complicate matters on top of COVID-19 if we had a new or different flu virus going around the US as well.
 

Passepartout

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While it is heartening to know you are negative, and dodged the first bullet, I think I'd feel more relief to have antibodies present, and not feeling I was still in a target in the shooting gallery, waiting for the next bullet to dodge.

Good Luck!
 

jackio

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I was very sick with an unusual respiratory illness back in December. My PMD thought the time period was too early for Covid, but now I am reading that may not be the case, especially in NY. I will go get the antibody test next week.
We are now up to just short of 40,000 confirmed cases in my county.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Good to know you're negative. Given the background, it made perfect sense to be tested.

But knowing that you're negative, you're still at risk, right? And if your immune system is repressed right now, does that put you at higher risk?

Dave
Looking only at myself, I would have preferred to have a positive result. A positive doesn't assure immunity, but it would be nice to know that I was exposed and beat it at least once. And that would likely mean the same for DW and DS3 (who lives with us).
 

lockewong

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Glad you are negative. But, from the description of your symptoms, I would have thought you has been exposed. I have a friend who also had very severe body aches, fever and flu symptoms. She also tested for COVID-19 and her result was negative. Her cousin who is her best friend, came down with the exact symptoms and her test was positive. My friend swears she had it and is vigilant about her mask, Social Distancing, and hand-washing. Hope you stay healthy.
 

DaveNV

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Looking only at myself, I would have preferred to have a positive result. A positive doesn't assure immunity, but it would be nice to know that I was exposed and beat it at least once. And that would likely mean the same for DW and DS3 (who lives with us).
I can see that. I'm getting to the point of just wanting it to be over with.

Dave
 

WVBaker

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Looking only at myself, I would have preferred to have a positive result. A positive doesn't assure immunity, but it would be nice to know that I was exposed and beat it at least once. And that would likely mean the same for DW and DS3 (who lives with us).
Coronavirus antibody tests are available around the country. Here's why they may provide a false sense of security.

Medical experts have some advice for Americans thinking about getting coronavirus antibody tests: Don't – at least not until the questionable ones have been weeded out and scientists know whether people who survived COVID-19 are immune from the virus.



Please be careful. :ponder:
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Coronavirus antibody tests are available around the country. Here's why they may provide a false sense of security.

Medical experts have some advice for Americans thinking about getting coronavirus antibody tests: Don't – at least not until the questionable ones have been weeded out and scientists know whether people who survived COVID-19 are immune from the virus.



Please be careful. :ponder:
I specifically avoided the pop-up types of operations. My testing was done at the medical center at the University of Washington.

I also wanted to be sure I had a good understanding of where the test stood in terms of false positives and false negatives.

 

eschjw

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My wife's came back negative today. We were both going to see our doctor on Monday for regular checkups. They take your temps before you can enter and hers was 99.7. People with temps over 99.5 were not allowed entry and she had to wait for me in our car. Mine was 98.9 and I got my yearly physical. She was not happy and we had to come back later to get a test for her in a testing area behind the building. She can now go back to have her blood glucose checked.

Before we arrived on Monday, she was complaining about having hot flashes. They took her temp on her forehead and when we returned home using an ear thermometer she was 98.7. So now she must reschedule the appointment. Just in case there is a problem next time, to get a more accurate internal reading I advised her to take an old school anal thermometer. She failed to appreciate my lame attempt at humor.
 

1Kflyerguy

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Looking only at myself, I would have preferred to have a positive result. A positive doesn't assure immunity, but it would be nice to know that I was exposed and beat it at least once. And that would likely mean the same for DW and DS3 (who lives with us).

That how i feel too. I was test last Friday, got my results Monday night, Negative as well.

Both my wife and I got super sick back in Late Dec, early Jan with a respiratory issue.

I went to Quest Labs for my test, their testing is now covered under an FDA Emergency Authorization. Not the same as approved, but better than some of the pop-up i have never heard of before.
 

Luanne

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One of our neighbors got an antibody test. She hadn't gotten the results when I saw her. Dh and I were talking about this last night. I'm still thinking I might have had COVID 19 in December, and maybe gave it to this particular neighbor. I was saying I might like to have the antibody test. I'd need to convince my doctor to write a script for it, but he might since I was in to see him with what he called a "viral thing". But, then I thought, would I do anything different, even if I tested positive for the antibody? Probably not.
 

TravelTime

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So many people are convinced that they had covid-19 already

The week before Thanksgiving, Barbara O’Donnell came down with a wretched cough.

“It was just really bad, and it was constant,” says O’Donnell, 62. “I would turn purple,” gasping for breath. She could barely walk up the hills near her home outside of Philadelphia. Though she is a smoker, she was healthy and strong — “I don’t get the flu, ever” — and had never experienced anything like this before.
It “felt like my lungs were so full that I wasn’t going to make it,” she says.

Two weeks of resting at home, and the illness vanished as quickly as it came. Two months later, California reported the country’s first case of covid-19 that wasn’t acquired via travel or direct contact with someone who had been abroad. Three weeks after that, Philadelphia closed nonessential businesses and issued a stay-at-home order. O’Donnell’s job, as a privately employed aide for an elderly patient in a nursing home, was put on hold — the nursing home permitted only its own staff on the premises.

Sitting in her apartment, the thought occurred to her: “What if it was here way before they think it was?” she wondered. Was that cough covid?

The virus was here before anyone thought it was, we now know. Health officials in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, recently determined that at least two people who died in early and mid-February tested positive for the virus. But that doesn’t answer the question that has been spreading, afflicting anyone who recently — or even kind of recently — experienced any covid symptoms:

Did I have it? I think I had it.

“I’ve been getting emails from hundreds, maybe thousands of people telling me, ‘I’m sure I had it,’ ” Eran Bendavid, an associate professor of medicine specializing in infectious disease who is studying covid-19 at Stanford University......

 

T_R_Oglodyte

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One of our neighbors got an antibody test. She hadn't gotten the results when I saw her. Dh and I were talking about this last night. I'm still thinking I might have had COVID 19 in December, and maybe gave it to this particular neighbor. I was saying I might like to have the antibody test. I'd need to convince my doctor to write a script for it, but he might since I was in to see him with what he called a "viral thing". But, then I thought, would I do anything different, even if I tested positive for the antibody? Probably not.
Maybe you wouldn't do anything different, but the information is used by agencies to determine the prevalence of infection/exposure in the community, which also increases understanding of transmission and effects.

For example, consider a community of 1,000,000 people. Let's say there have been 100 deaths (0.01% of the population, and 1000 known cases requiring treatment (0.1% of the population). Assessing those numbers changes greatly if 5% of the population shows antibody vs. 0.5% of the population. In the first case, that indicates that only 2% of the population will be sick enough to require treatment. In the latter case, that number jumps to 20%. That makes a huge difference in planning strategy and recovery.
 

Luanne

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Maybe you wouldn't do anything different, but the information is used by agencies to determine the prevalence of infection/exposure in the community, which also increases understanding of transmission and effects.

For example, consider a community of 1,000,000 people. Let's say there have been 100 deaths (0.01% of the population, and 1000 known cases requiring treatment (0.1% of the population). Assessing those numbers changes greatly if 5% of the population shows antibody vs. 0.5% of the population. In the first case, that indicates that only 2% of the population will be sick enough to require treatment. In the latter case, that number jumps to 20%. That makes a huge difference in planning strategy and recovery.
Thanks. That's not something I'd thought of.
 

DaveNV

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But, then I thought, would I do anything different, even if I tested positive for the antibody? Probably not.
But you'd know. And you might be able to relax a bit more when in social situations. For me, the not knowing is what makes it worse.

Dave
 

Luanne

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But you'd know. And you might be able to relax a bit more when in social situations. For me, the not knowing is what makes it worse.

Dave
What is confusing or concerning is that even if I have the antibodies for this strain would that mean that I'd be immune to other strains? Does anyone know for sure if you've had COVID-19 that you can't get it again? That's why I wouldn't be doing anything differently.

Social situations? What's a social situation?
 

SueDonJ

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Two of my sisters (who don't live together) were very sick last December with respiratory illnesses. Both had terrible coughs, fevers, chills, body aches that went on for weeks, both saw their doctors multiple times with one visiting an ER, both were ruled out for flu or any pneumonia. They both were diagnosed with viral illnesses which eventually resolved after weeks, into early March. They're both convinced that they had COVID-19 and their doctors are suggesting that they take an antibody test but would like them to wait until the tests are perfected. One of them is convinced that if she catches it now, either as a repeat or for the first time, it will kill her so she's been self-quarantining since mid-March. The other is working from home every day but one. We're all sewing masks, wearing masks, trying to be as careful as we can be, worrying day after day about our other family members who are working in medical settings. I honestly think this will change our lives forever.
 

DaveNV

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What is confusing or concerning is that even if I have the antibodies for this strain would that mean that I'd be immune to other strains? Does anyone know for sure if you've had COVID-19 that you can't get it again? That's why I wouldn't be doing anything differently.

Social situations? What's a social situation?
I've seen both sides of that question recently, some for, some against. I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV, but it seems that antibodies to the general version of the virus would be better toward any subset of it, as compared with no antibodies at all. (Is that flawed thinking? I'm a computer guy. Somebody help me out here.)

A social situation is that thing we read about in school, where people get together and "mingle." That is a word that may be relegated to ancient history, under "The way we used to do things." ;)

Dave
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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What is confusing or concerning is that even if I have the antibodies for this strain would that mean that I'd be immune to other strains? Does anyone know for sure if you've had COVID-19 that you can't get it again? That's why I wouldn't be doing anything differently.

Social situations? What's a social situation?
This is new enough that we don't know what immunity will look like. Is immunity 100%, or is there a percentage of the population that can become infected again? And if so, what is that percentage? If someone has acquired immunity, how long does that immunity last? If someone gets the disease a second or third time, is the body more successful in defense with those subsequent bouts?

Answers to those questions, and others, won't be known for some time.
 

Panina

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This is new enough that we don't know what immunity will look like. Is immunity 100%, or is there a percentage of the population that can become infected again? And if so, what is that percentage? If someone has acquired immunity, how long does that immunity last? If someone gets the disease a second or third time, is the body more successful in defense with those subsequent bouts?

Answers to those questions, and others, won't be known for some time.
I agree I would keep doing the same thing mostly because if I get a mutated version can I be asymptomatic and give it to others.

My thought process is how the flu works....”a person infected with a flu virus develops antibodies against that virus; as the virus changes, the "older" antibodies no longer recognizes the "newer" virus, and the person gets sick. The older antibodies can, however, provide partial protection against newer viruses.” Thinking what if partial protection makes me asymptomatic?

With that said knowing I had it already would make me feel better. It would show me my immune system was able to handle it. Maybe this thought is false security.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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With that said knowing I had it already would make me feel better. It would show me my immune system was able to handle it. Maybe this thought is false security.
Depends on what is connoted by "false security".

Stressing that much isn't known and I'm not an immunologist (I only opine like one occasionally on TUG), it seems that if you show antibody, even if you get infected again, you're body is going to respond to it more quickly. That's really what acquired immunity is about - it doesn't mean the virus doesn't invade, just that the body can react before it gains a foothold.

So antibody presence isn't a "passport" to adventure. What it would have meant for us, though, is that it would have made us more comfortable getting out in public (with protections) and not worrying to the same extent about the possibility of becoming infected.

The collision point that I see is coming, though, is that as protective measures continue, hardships and difficulties will increase. We've asked the populace to undertake short term hardships to address a specific situation. But If there is no viable or realistic light at the end of the tunnel, people will increasing regard the virus as an inherent and unavoidable risk of life, similar to the risks of subjecting yourself and your loved ones to drunk and distracted drivers. And as more people regard it as a "new normal"risk of life, why should we continue to adhere to practices that were presented and sold as "interim" solutions.
 

Panina

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Depends on what is connoted by "false security".

Stressing that much isn't known and I'm not an immunologist (I only opine like one occasionally on TUG), it seems that if you show antibody, even if you get infected again, you're body is going to respond to it more quickly. That's really what acquired immunity is about - it doesn't mean the virus doesn't invade, just that the body can react before it gains a foothold.

So antibody presence isn't a "passport" to adventure. What it would have meant for us, though, is that it would have made us more comfortable getting out in public (with protections) and not worrying to the same extent about the possibility of becoming infected.

The collision point that I see is coming, though, is that as protective measures continue, hardships and difficulties will increase. We've asked the populace to undertake short term hardships to address a specific situation. But If there is no viable or realistic light at the end of the tunnel, people will increasing regard the virus as an inherent and unavoidable risk of life, similar to the risks of subjecting yourself and your loved ones to drunk and distracted drivers. And as more people regard it as a "new normal"risk of life, why should we continue to adhere to practices that were presented and sold as "interim" solutions.
Mom lives in Brooklyn NY, one of the hardest hit areas of NY. Today she went out for a walk with her mask on. She told me many people and children were out and not wearing masks with no regard to who was near them. NYC has a mandatory requirement if you are near others you have to wear a mask. Seems in the worst hit place in the US people already have moved on not worrying and doing what they want.
 

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So if you tested negative, did they tell you what they thought it was? Just another version of the flu?
 
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