TO INCLUDE COVID-19 PREVALENCE STUDY
(April 27, 2020) Antibody testing and a prevalence study for COVID-19 are being planned for a mid to late May roll-out by Comanche County Medical Center (CCMC). Dr. L. G. “Larry” Troxell, CCMC Chief Executive Officer and John Boykin, CCMC Laboratory Director, are leading the effort. CCMC ordered a large shipment of the antibody test kits from a California manufacturer back in February, and the first shipment is expected to arrive this week. Necessary validation of a sampling of the kits will be undertaken in the CCMC Laboratory. Registration for the test will be done online and the testing will be conducted on the CCMC campus. Dr. Troxell is collaborating with Dr. Kit Simpson of Medical University of South Carolina to ensure the study uses a best practice sampling process.
The COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test which measures the presence of antibodies (proteins produced in the body by our white blood cells to fight infection). Antibodies can remain in the blood long after the infection clears. The test results can show whether a person was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. In addition, city and county data collected from the testing will be used in a research study to help show the prevalence of infection in the region.
In the coming days, CCMC will announce on its website and through social media the availability of a secure online portal and instructions for pre-registering for the test. Anyone in the CCMC five-county service area will be allowed to register for the antibody test, until the needed sample size is met. This includes residents who feel they had the disease and recovered, were tested for the flu, had symptoms of COVID-19 such as fatigue, fever, body chills, and shortness of breath (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html), or have no symptoms. Those registering who have health insurance will need to provide their plan information; their insurer will be billed by CCMC; all test takers will not have to pay a co-pay or other fee on the day they are tested.
It is hoped that the antibody testing data to be collected at CCMC, and across the nation, will also eventually show that those previously infected are likely immune so that they can get back to work and resume their lives. It should also help support the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.