COVID-19 Laboratory Update: April 3 | Serology Testing
Mayo Clinic Laboratories is working around the clock to offer serologic testing for the Mayo Clinic practice and our health care partners through Mayo Clinic Laboratories. We are in the final stages of our test validation and hope to make this testing available to support the Mayo Clinic practice and its ongoing response to COVID-19. We are already working on additional testing instrumentation to expand our serology testing for providers outside of Mayo Clinic and hope to have it available in the coming weeks.
The tests that we are working on will be used to identify the presence of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although work is still ongoing to determine the level and duration of immunity in previously infected individuals, this sort of testing may be used, alongside other factors, to help guide the redeployment of health care workers, to screen potential plasma donors, potentially to evaluate the performance of vaccine candidates, and eventually to identify the true infection rate of SARS-CoV-2.
Importantly, because it takes days to weeks in some cases to develop an immune response and a detectable level of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, we do not recommend routinely using serologic tests to diagnose whether a patient with active symptoms is infected with SARS-CoV-2. If the serologic test is performed too soon after symptoms begin, the result may be falsely negative. Also, it is important to note that a positive serology result cannot be used to pinpoint the date of exposure. Additionally, we are continuing to learn about the level and duration of protective immunity, but cannot definitively say how long immunity may last.
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