UW COVID-19 antibody test

Apr 24, 2020

UW Virology released a COVID-19 antibody test last week that is used to detect coronavirus antibodies in individuals who have been exposed to the virus. Family Care Network has reviewed this test and determined that it meets clinical standards for accuracy and can provide useful clinical information. All FCN providers are now able to order this test for their patients when deemed appropriate.

Keep in mind:

  • The test is not FDA approved.
  • The test can not be used to diagnose an active case of COVID-19.
  • There is a risk of both false positive and false negative results.
  • Our current understanding of the test shows that it could be useful for those highly suspected of COVID-19 illness who were either not tested, or tested negative.
  • The accuracy of the test is higher beyond 14 days after onset of symptoms. Accuracy is less known for asymptomatic patients.
  • The test requires an order from a healthcare provider and is sent to the UW for analysis.

If an FCN patient is interested in taking this test, please follow these recommendations:

  • Contact your regular primary care provider to discuss the test and its limitations. Your provider may need to schedule a telephone consult or telemedicine visit with you.
  • Contact your insurance company to ask if the test is covered under your specific benefit plan. The cost of the test will likely include both a draw fee and a processing fee.

Family Care Network is committed to providing the best care possible for our patients. Several other tests developed by trusted, nationally recognized lab research facilities are currently in review with the FDA. Local laboratories, including FCN Lab Services and NW Laboratory, will offer antibody tests when they become available.

Detailed clinical information for the UW COVID-19 antibody test is available here: UW Laboratory Medicine COVID-19 FAQ page