Serology tests measure the presence of antibodies in our blood. Antibodies are made by the immune system as the body’s response to a threat and can help determine if someone has been infected with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in the past.
There are limitations to serology testing including false positive or false negative results—even in the tests that have been authorized by the FDA. In addition, many of the tests have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Importantly, recent guidance from the CDC specifically states serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.
The tests will not indicate whether an individual has an active infection of COVID-19. Additionally, as recently stated in the CDC Guidelines, the following remains uncertain:
- Whether individuals with antibodies are protected against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2;
- What level of antibodies is needed to give protection;
- The duration of any protection that might exist; and
- Whether the presence of antibodies means the person can’t still transmit the virus, as it is common for people who do not have any symptoms to transmit the virus.
Antibody testing is not designed to be a diagnostic test and has limited value in the management and treatment of an individual patient.
These tests can play a valuable public health role in the surveillance of communities by the CDC to track where the virus has been and where it is headed next.
CareFirst and plan sponsors will cover the full cost of in-network deductibles, copays and coinsurance for FDA-authorized and medically necessary antibody testing when ordered by a doctor, nurse practitioner or other authorized provider. For testing performed out of network, CareFirst or the plan sponsor will pay 100% up to charge.
The current FDA-authorized tests are approximately $50.
No, they should consult with their physician or provider to determine the medical necessity of the antibody test and where they can be administered.