Conemaugh Health System Offering Serology Testing to Detect COVID-19 Antibodies in Patients

June 29, 2020

Conemaugh Health System announced that it is offering serology testing to detect the potential presence of antibodies in people who may have been exposed to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. The hospital has the ability to conduct a qualitative total antibody test in its onsite laboratory at Memorial Medical Center.

Antibodies are proteins created by an individual’s immune system in response to an infection.  Antibody tests, also called serological tests, use blood serum to determine if an individual has been infected with a virus based on the presence or absence of these proteins. Importantly, antibody test results do not confirm whether someone is able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 – nor has it been proven that the confirmed presence of antibodies can protect someone from getting infected again or how long that protection may last.

“Antibody testing helps identify people who have been infected by the virus, which is particularly useful when it comes to detecting those who may have had COVID-19 but did not display symptoms,” said Molly Harrison, lab director at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center .

COVID-19 antibody tests could not only aid in the development of future patient treatments, but they could also help determine the true rate of infection and more accurately measure the spread of the virus.

“Though there is still much to learn about what antibody test results may mean for one’s health, we are optimistic about the potential for antibody testing to provide insight into the scope of community spread as a public health tool,” said Dr. Sharif Ali, Chief of Pathology. “I continue to be so proud of the outstanding work of our laboratory team and all of our providers and employees as we keep up the fight against COVID-19.”

Due to state testing priority guidelines, in-house COVID-19 serology testing and analysis is only available to individuals who present with an order from a qualified healthcare provider.

For more information, visit Conemaugh.org or call 814.534.9000.