Ask the Doc: How will antibody testing help in the fight against COVID-19?


Baton Rouge General is starting to provide antibody testing that will test patient’s immunity to the coronavirus. The testing is beginning as EBR Mayor President announces a second drive-thru community testing site in Baton Rouge. OLOL Physician Dr. Rani Whitfield joined NBC Local33 News Today’s Gerron Jordan to discuss how the increased testing will help in the fight against COVID-19.

Q: How important is this testing as Governor John Bel Edwards begins looking at how and when to reopen the state?

A: It’s very important. Of course everybody wants to hurry and get back to work, the economy is struggling, everyone’s having issues, but we can’t rush the judgment on this thing. Our bodies are mounting an immune response to infectious bacterial viruses. This test is designed for anybody that’s really had symptoms and don’t know, so rushing out o get this test is not going to guarantee all the results we want, but it will help to determine some of the folks who can go back to work, especially if you’ve had the virus for at least 14 days. The body is able to respond but some people had no symptoms at all. Just to get tested, the test costs $100, it’s not covered by insurance, so we don’t want everybody to just go run and get tested, but for those people who had symptoms for at least 14 days, this is at least a start in the right direction to some normality.

Q: So who are the people who should be getting this test?

A: If you have questions or concerns just call your providers and have this discussion with them. Our phone lines are open, the telemedicine phone appointments are open, so we are taking calls and answering questions trying to guide people in the right direction. This is a blood test. It takes about 48 hours to come back. This will help us better return individuals to work, other than the preliminary chain reactions. This is not a test for diagnosis, it’s a test to see if you have been exposed, that your body has mounted an immune response to the coronavirus, specifically SARS-COVID-2.

Dr. Whitfield is also known as the ‘Hip Hop Doc’ and he’s just released a new video with his family urging the importance of social distancing and good hygiene. To see the video, click here.

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