KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - Many people have now been tested for COVID-19, but have not been screened for antibodies, which people can develop to help fight the disease.
At Christus Good Shepherd Kilgore they are now offering antibody screening to the general public.
Jim Gaton, vice president of operations at Christus Health Good Shepherd said they are trying to discover who has developed the antibodies needed to fight COVID-19.
“The antibody screening is actually a blood draw. We do that, we process it right here in our lab at the emergency room here in Kilgore,” Gaton said.
First, people who are exhibiting at least two symptoms of COVID-19 check in and line up in their vehicles. They eventually make their way to the Kilgore Mobile Operations vehicle for a blood draw.
“When someone is infected with the virus they develop these antibodies. So the best result is if you have somebody who already has symptoms, or they feel they’ve had an exposure to someone that has infected them previously,” Gaton said.
He said the antibodies aren’t developed immediately.
“It takes roughly one to three weeks for that to take effect, so the test brings more validity if it’s done with someone who has symptoms or who has had an exposure,” Gaton said.
Once those being screened are parked next to mobile operations they are allowed to get out to do some paperwork. They then head into the van for bloodwork.
“The city has purchased this bus that allows us to be able to do that in a clean environment; an air-conditioned environment,” Gaton said.
Medical staff on site take extra care sterilizing tables and chairs or anything else that may have been touched since some of those getting screened may have COVID-19.
“And we will have the results back to the individual within 90 minutes,” Gaton said.
And if someone is positive for antibodies they are invited to:
“Take a PCR test. The PCR test is the gold standard for determining whether an individual has an active virus,” Gaton said.
That, of course is the swab test for COVID-19. If anyone screened does have antibodies they will be contacted about the next step, which could include donating plasma to help those fighting COVID-19.
The screening is free for Kilgore residents, and sixty dollars for those who live elsewhere. Testing is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Christus Good Shepherd Kilgore.