Antibody testing currently offered by DC Health will no longer be offered after August 15th as a survey to learn more about the extent of COVID-19 infection in the District comes to a close.
Appointments for antibody testing can be made by calling 1-855-363-0333.
The DC Department of Health (DC Health), in partnership with the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) Public Health Lab (PHL), has been offering free serology screenings, also called antibody tests since mid-June. A serology screening is a blood test that determines if someone has previously been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The District has been testing as part of a survey of the prevalence of COVID-19. The survey is a randomized controlled study facilitated by a partnership with DC Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
When the study was announced June 15, DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said that testing would conclude in the first week of July. The seroprevalence survey was designed to give researchers a sense of the proportion of DC residents who have been exposed.
Serology or antibody tests are intended for persons who are not experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, but want to know if they were previously exposed to the virus. A positive result for antibodies does not necessarily indicate immunity, however, and DC Health has said that experts are still unsure how long antibodies remain in the body.
“Typically, when somebody has antibodies to a virus, it may mean that you are immune. We do not know that yet about SARS-CoV-2 [Coronavirus] antibodies and what it means for your immunity,” said Nesbitt, emphasizing that even those who have tested positive for antibodies should wear masks and practice social distancing.
In an attempt to expand the scope of the study, Mayor’s Office of Community Relations Ward 6 Liaison Tyler Williams said that 850 households would be randomly selected by CDC and DC Health and invited to participate. The invitation would include all members of the household, and transportation will be provided to and from the test and offering $25 Visa gift cards in compensation.
Tyler said she could not give specifics on why August 15th was selected as the end date for both the survey and the testing sites, but said the purpose of the survey is to better inform our health officials about the spread of COVID-19.
While District agencies will no longer be offering antibody tests after August 15, residents interested in testing after that date should consult with their primary health providers.
DC Health did not immediately reply to a request for comment on future antibody testing. This story will be updated when comment is received.
Learn more about District testing and the COVID-19 Response by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov/testing