Antibody testing starts locally to see if COVID-19 patients have immunity


Dr. Esmail said the only way to know it's really safe to reopen the economy is through widespread antibody testing

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – This week, QUICKmed Urgent Care Centers in Trumbull County received kits to test COVID-19 patients’ blood.

Nakeisha Kelley and her husband have spent the last month recovering from COVID-19. On Wednesday morning, they went to see how well their bodies are fighting the virus.

“I would like to see if I built those antibodies to see where I sit right now,” she said.

The Kelleys are among the first in the area to be tested this way.

“We prick your finger with a small lancet or a needle, we extract that blood into the sample cartridge and we’re able to result within 10 to 15 minutes,” Dr. Lena Esmail said.

Over the past several weeks, Esmail and her QUICKmed staff have tested thousands for the coronavirus via drive-thru clinics in the area.

She said the only way to know it’s really safe to reopen the economy is through widespread testing.

“Not just mass testing through live virus, but mass testing related to whether or not somebody has had the virus and has built immunity to it through antibodies.”

Esmail admitted there has been concern over previous antibody tests that were only 60% accurate, but she said what she’s using now is about 92% reliable. She’s also working to get newly-approved tests that are nearly 100% accurate.

Although patients will need to complete some paperwork before they’re tested, Esmail said registration will be much simpler since no live virus is involved.

As for the Kelleys, their results came back positive for antibodies.

“You definitely want to know whether you have this virus or have had the virus because you don’t want to affect other people,” Nakeisha said.

With her results, Nakeisha hopes she’ll soon be able to return to work as a nurse.

Under recent coronavirus relief legislation, QUICKmed is now able to take patients who have no insurance. Now even those without coverage can be treated at no cost.

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