Livonia’s Premier Medicine is offering serology testing to detect antibodies in the blood that it says can indicate an immune response to COVID-19 and help patients determine if they were exposed to the virus. The tests help track the virus, particularly for patients who were asymptomatic and likely unaware they had contracted it.
“Patients who have previously had the virus will likely have developed antibodies that may help protect them from the virus going forward,” says Dr. Nabil Suliman of Premier Medicine. “The trick is not everyone was symptomatic and may be unaware they had COVID-19. As stay-at-home orders start to ease, serology tests can help people assess their risk and make informed decisions about social distancing measures. These tests also help the medical world better evaluate the prevalence of the virus.”
While Premier offers nasal swab tests to detect if a patient currently has the COVID-19 virus, these tests cannot determine if the person previously had the virus and recovered. Serology tests require a blood draw with results taking about two-three days through a private lab.
“While social distancing appears to have helped flatten the curve, this is a new virus, and we need to proceed with continued caution and pursue as much testing as possible,” Suliman says. “The more testing we have, the better we can trace the virus and understand how widespread it is. Testing remains the single most important thing for making decisions about reopening the economy and establishing a new normal.”
Antibodies are proteins made in the body in response to infections. They can be found in the blood and other tissues after infection and indicate that a person had an immune response, regardless of whether symptoms developed.
In March, Premier began offering outpatient video appointments and drive-up testing in an effort to ease the burden on hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Those who wish to learn more about serology testing or schedule a telemedicine appointment can call (248) 987-1250 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the weekends. General COVID-19 drive-up testing is still available for patients who are suspected of having the virus following their telemedical exam.
Premier accepts all patients, including the un- and underinsured. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires private and federal insurance to pay for FDA-approved testing with no cost-sharing.
The company has locations serving Livonia, Dearborn, Hamtramck, and nearby communities. They offer walk-in services for patients who require care for urgent, but not life-threatening, conditions.