NNRH Offers COVID-19 Antibody Tests

June 18, 2020

ELKO, Nevada – Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital (NNRH) announced it is offering serology testing to detect the potential presence of antibodies in people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The hospital laboratory now has the ability to conduct a qualitative total antibody test for any patient with a doctor’s order.

Antibodies are proteins created by an individual’s immune system in response to an infection. Antibody tests, also called serological tests, use blood serum to determine if an individual has been infected with a virus based on the presence or absence of these proteins. Importantly, antibody tests do not confirm whether someone currently has the potential to spread COVID-19. Nor has it been proven that antibodies can protect someone from getting infected again or how long that protection may last.

“Antibody testing helps identify people who have been infected by the virus, which is particularly useful when it comes to detecting those who may have had COVID-19 but did not display symptoms,” said Alice Allen, chief nursing officer at NNRH.

COVID-19 antibody tests not only have the potential to aid the development of future patient treatments; they can also help determine the true rate of infection within a population.

“Though there is still much to learn about what antibody test results may mean for one’s health, we are optimistic about the potential for antibody testing to serve as a public health tool by providing insight into the scope of community spread,” Allen remarked. “I’m very proud of the outstanding work of our laboratory team and all our providers and employees as we keep up the fight against COVID-19.”

Due to state testing priority guidelines, in-house COVID-19 serology testing is only available to individuals who present with an order from a qualified healthcare provider. Those interested in being tested should contact their primary care physician first. Individuals with questions about cost and insurance coverage may also call the hospital at (775) 748-0777.