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Why is Rapid Antibody Testing Still Important?

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

COVID-19 testing continues to be administered all around the world in the year 2021 as the coronavirus stays active and the efficacy of vaccines are yet to be guaranteed a success. Healthcare institutions and private clinics are expanding testing capacities to reach and test more people in hopes of mitigating the spread of the virus while we await the effectiveness of the different vaccines produced by various countries.

There are three types of COVID-19 testing methods: RT-PCR, rapid antigen, and rapid antibody. The most common type being used is the RT-PCR test because of its high accuracy. Second-best is the rapid antigen test which is quicker in producing results, budget-friendly, and less invasive (ISPS offers a less invasive throat swab). As for the rapid antibody test, it may be 3rd in ranking out of the three, but its significance is definitely not the least!

What is Rapid Antibody Testing?

In simple words, rapid antibody is a COVID testing method that makes use of finger pricking to collect a blood sample to detect whether a person has developed antibodies, protective proteins produced by the immune system, against the coronavirus.

It looks for two types of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2:

  • IgM antibodies - detects the first antibody generated during viral illness

  • IgG antibodies - detects antibodies formed later during the illness

This type of test can help medical professionals identify if an individual already had a past infection of the coronavirus or is currently asymptomatic.

Detection of antibodies also served as the basis for so-called “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” being set up by some governments in some countries that enable individuals who have had the coronavirus to travel or return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection.

This can also be relevant for people who are considering a vaccination. A news article stated that doctors and infectious disease experts agree that most people should get vaccinated even if they may have natural protective immunity. There is a possibility that a vaccine may enhance immunity from initial infections in most survivors.

Rapid antibody is considered a form of point-of-care testing (POC). It refers to any testing done at or near the location of the patient which allows physicians and medical staff to achieve real-time, lab-quality diagnostic results when and where it is needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), POC tests are used to diagnose COVID-19 in various settings such as:

  • Physician offices

  • Urgent care facilities

  • Pharmacies

  • School health clinics

  • Long-term care facilities and nursing homes

  • Temporary locations such as drive-through sites managed by local organizations

Other sources like the Department of Health in Australia state that POC can also be utilized for home use or self testing and rural (remote) hospitals or health clinics. This is perfect for mobile testing operations as mobile clinics, also known as home service, are flexible and viable options that offer treatment to isolated and vulnerable groups, including those without access to healthcare facilities due to the pandemic.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released Advisory No. 2020-498 and Advisory No. 2020-671 that inform the Filipino public on the purchase and administration of FDA approved COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits and on the varying specifications and use of COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits, respectively.

FDA reiterates on both advisories that these rapid test kits must be administered by trained health professionals and the interpretation of the test results must be guided by licensed physicians.

The mobile testing service of the International Sanitization and Protection Suppliers (ISPS) is facilitated by medical technicians, nurses, and doctors and they use high-quality internationally-sourced test kits to ensure the integrity of our COVID testing service.

Our Realy Tech Rapid Test Device is a rapid chromatographic immunoassay for the qualitative detection of IgG and IgM antibodies specifically against SARS-CoV-2 in human whole blood, serum, or plasma.

How is this testing method efficient?

Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said in an article that despite the antibody test not being considered as the “gold standard” procedure for detecting SARS-CoV-2, it can still be beneficial in improving the local government units’ efforts to trace and treat positive patients.

“It can tell you how many people have been exposed to SARS-COV-2 and have developed antibodies to it in a certain population, and the tracker, through time, can tell you if there is continuing transmission in that population or not,” Cabral said.

However, in order to conduct an accurate test result, efficient rapid test kits must be used. FDA Advisory No. 2020-498 states that antibody test kits “must be acquired through a prescription from a licensed physician from licensed hospitals or drug stores/pharmacies/botica.”

Cabral notes the importance of the test kits having high sensitivity and specificity as possible. The specificity is important for avoiding “false positives” while the sensitivity is important for avoiding “false negatives.”

Specificity and sensitivity of Realy Tech Rapid Test Device:

What are the advantages of this type of test?

  • Yields faster results - antibody tests take only 5 to 15 minutes to perform

  • Most affordable type of COVID-19 test - ISPS rapid antibody test starts at ₱499

  • Less invasive as it requires only a prick on the finger

Rapid antibody testing is helpful for determining those who were infected with the respiratory disease, which in today’s case is COVID-19. Many offices and agencies are availing this testing service for their staff to undergo in preparation for the resumption of work in the new normal.

The Eagle Broadcasting Corporation teamed up with ISPS to conduct a rapid testing for its employees to limit the spread of the global pandemic. The test helps identify, detect, and trace persons under investigation (PUIs), persons under monitoring (PUMs), and asymptomatic carriers.

In need of COVID-19 testing? ISPS offers our mobile testing service that covers different COVID-19 methods and is suitable for private companies, businesses, organizations, or private individuals. Our clinic in Manila is also open every Monday to Sunday at 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Contact us today for testing appointments or for more inquiries:

Phone: 0917 861 3850


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