OKLAHOMA CITY – The Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma started antibody testing for coronavirus April 21st, and every day they see more and more blood samples come to the lab.
Their machines are working 24/7 to test the samples for the antibodies.
“It takes the serum part of the blood and looks for antibodies reacting to the virus protein,” said DLO Medical Director Dr. Madhusudan Rao.
The CDC says these tests could help them get a better idea of how many people have been infected, even those who haven’t experienced any symptoms.
They’re also hoping to learn more about how immune systems react to the virus.
“It’s very important to have this widespread antibody testing to see how prevalent the infection is in the community,” said Dr. Rao.
At DLO, they have the capacity to run about 3,400 tests a day; by next week, they’re hoping to increase that capacity to do up to 5,400 per day.
“Our fleet goes out every day and gathers up specimens around the state of Oklahoma and brings our testing in so we will do this testing 24 hours a day 7 days a week,” said DLO Chief Operations Officer Kimberly Holloway.
The CDC says if you test positive for the antibodies, it doesn’t mean you are immune to the virus.
They also say if you test negative for the antibodies, you could still spread the virus since symptoms sometimes don’t show up for weeks.
Staff anticipates they could see a surge in numbers now that the state is starting to reopen.
“This may help … everyone is still collecting data so we can’t certainly say but any data would be welcome I’m sure,” said Dr. Rao.
A reminder, while they are testing for live virus and antibodies they’re not collecting specimens for the live virus
They say if you are feeling ill, to continue to consult with your physician.
Correction: The word lab was changed to laboratory. The word capacity was also added for clarification concerning the volume of testing.