June 2, 2020

Local reader shares details about his positive COVID-19 antibody test

(Franklin, GA) — In an effort to inform the public, Brett Smith reached out to the Heard Citizen this morning about his recent positive COVID-19 antibody test experience.

Smith, a 2012 Heard High honor graduate and avid follower of politics since his early teens, made national headlines in February of 2016 after an emotional moment with his favorite Republican presidential candidate, John Kasich.

The moment referred to simply by national media outlets as ‘The Hug’ went viral after Smith attended a town hall campaign stop at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Antibody blood tests, also called antibody tests, check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.

Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection.

Brett Smith

Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19.

Smith says he only experienced a couple of minor symptoms at the time he believes he may have been infected.

“In late February/early March I suddenly lost my sense of smell and taste. I was already working from home with my previous job, and was pretty well isolated,” says Smith.

“At that time my car was covered in pollen and I had just assumed it was allergies. Around March 23rd, however, the CDC updated their COVID-19 symptoms to include those two indicators specifically. By this time, I had already completely regained my sense of taste and smell and had not/have not experienced any other symptoms that the CDC has listed.”

Smith says a sense of curiosity led him to seek out the antibody test with a medical provider in Newnan.

“I finally decided to go to get the antibody test,” says Smith as he described the experience. “I walked in, was given a mask, signed in and they soon called me back and took some blood. They told me it could be five days or less to get my results back. In less than 24 hours they had called me back saying I had tested positive for the antibodies — meaning I had, or was at least exposed to COVID-19.”

Smith says that nobody he knows or has come in contact with has had any severe symptoms of COVID-19 or been tested to confirm or deny a diagnosis.

If indeed Smith was infected as early as February, his situation is especially interesting in that the COVID-19 pandemic was only officially first detected in the State of Georgia on March 2, 2020.

Although his antibody test was positive, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) currently recommends that if you have no current symptoms, you likely do not have an active infection and no additional follow-up is needed.

A positive antibody test is not officially counted as a case of COVID-19 according the the Department of Public Health.

See additional recommendations from the CDC about antibody blood tests below.

How to Get an Antibody Test (CDC)

Check with your healthcare provider to see if they offer antibody tests.

If you test positive:

  • A positive test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus.

  • It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. This means that we do not know at this time if antibodies make you immune to the virus.

  • If you have no symptoms, you likely do not have an active infection and no additional follow-up is needed.

  • If you have symptoms and meet other guidelines for testing, you would need another type of test called a nucleic acid test, or viral test. This test uses respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose, to confirm COVID-19. An antibody test cannot tell if you are currently sick with COVID-19.

  • It’s possible you might test positive for antibodies and you might not have or have ever had symptoms of COVID-19. This is known as having an asymptomatic infection, or an infection without symptoms.

If you test negative:

  • If you test negative for COVID-19 antibodies, you probably did not have a previous infection that has gotten better. However, you could have a current infection. It’s possible you could still get sick if you have been exposed to the virus recently, since antibodies don’t show up for 1 to 3 weeks after infection. This means you could still spread the virus.

  • Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies.

  • If you have symptoms and meet other guidelines for testing, you would need another type of test called a nucleic acid test, or viral test. This test uses respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose, to confirm COVID-19. An antibody test cannot tell if you are currently sick with COVID-19.

Comments

  1. Hazel Reeves says

    Thank you for sharing this information.

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