Healthy Living: New test can detect past COVID-19 infections

Healthy Living

A new commercially-available COVID-19 test has received emergency use authorization from the FDA. The company says it has the power to tell most patients whether or not they’ve been infected with COVID in the past, possibly without even knowing it. It’s called T-Detect.

There are thousands of people across the country wondering if they may have been unknowingly infected with COVID-19, either because they were never tested or had mild symptoms. Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies is now marketing the first widely available test of its kind to tell if someone has been infected months after the fact. It’s a more sophisticated process to detect the activity of T-cells, which are a key part of the body’s immune response.

“This T-cell fingerprint is lasting out to about nine or 10 months in about 90 percent of patients, so we’re able to see beyond the typical window where you’d be able to see the antibodies,” said the company’s Lance Baldo, M.D.

Like a standard antibody test, a patient provides a blood sample and gets results in seven to 10 days. Doctors believe this test could be critical for long-term COVID patients to access the proper care if they are still experiencing symptoms they didn’t realize were linked to the virus.

The T-Detect test costs roughly $250 for patients paying out-of-pocket, including prescription costs and a blood draw at a commercial lab.

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