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If you've had COVID-19, you're likely protected, Wash U infectious disease specialist says

Wash U infectious disease specialist says antibody testing is key to re-open economy

ST. LOUIS — With all this talk about testing and having more of it being the answer to reopening our economy, we wanted to know more about exactly how that would work.

Today in St. Louis’ Allie Corey spoke with Dr. Jason Newland, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Washington University. 

Dr. Newland said the tests we need more of are the serological tests. 

These tests look at the blood serum to see if we’ve already had COVID-19 and if we’re unknowingly walking around with these antibodies. Like Influenza, scientists believe that by having had the virus you are more protected than those who haven’t because your body has built an immunity.

"We all believe that you're probably going to be more protected, but we just don’t have that data yet and the reason we don't have that data yet is because we’ve got to see if this thing continues. If this virus continues in the community into the next seasons and see who’s protected and who's not,” Dr. Newland said.

“I do have colleagues who've been infected with the coronavirus or COVID-19 illness and they feel more comfortable because they’ve been through it and I think it’s fair to say we should be protected."

So when will these antibody tests be available to the public? 

Dr. Newland said there are commercial serologic tests out there now but mostly for first responders and health care workers. 

There have not been tests produced and available for the general population. Dr. Newland also said his lab is still working on their own analysis and testing of a serologic. 

The big factor with these tests is finding one that has the highest percentage of accuracy and the smallest margin of error.

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