The c19 testing is rolling out to San Miguel County residents, but some people still have questions about how the test works. Sarah Holbrooke, executive director of Pinhead Institute, came up with some of the common questions/concerns and responded with the answers.
WHAT KIND OF TEST IS THIS? It’s an ELISA test—testing whether your blood contains antibodies that are only found once you’ve been exposed to Covid-19. Because it can take 10 days to develop antibodies once you’ve been exposed, a negative test is repeated again in 14 days. WHY NOT THE (PCR) SWAB TEST? Because the swab tests only tests for active infection, and doesn’t let you know if you’ve been exposed and recovered and now immune.
WHY TWO TESTS 14 DAYS APART? Because the human immune system takes seven to ten days to develop antibodies after exposure. Testing two weeks after the first negative test provides all the information you need to know if you’ve been exposed or are infected, as long as you haven’t broken quarantine.
HOW CAN I STAY SAFE WHILE GETTING MY BLOOD DRAWN (How are they preventing viral spread if the person getting tested in front of me already has the virus)? The county public health professionals have developed safety protocols including separating patients six feet from each other, sterilizing between blood draws, and using new barrier equipment between patients. Also people who are symptomatic will be separated from those without symptoms.
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO GET TESTED, AND WHAT AMOUNT OF BLOOD IS DRAWN? Kids under eight don’t need to get tested, and it’s one small vial of blood.
WHAT IS UNITED BIOMEDICAL DOING WITH OUR INFORMATION? Nothing.
IS ANYONE MAKING MONEY OFF OF OUR TESTING AND TEST RESULTS? No. The test kits and testing costs are being donated.
ARE THEY GOING TO DEVELOP A VACCINE WITH THE INFORMATION THEY GET FROM OUR BLOOD OR OUR TEST RESULTS? No. The science involved in developing a vaccine is different and has already been started—United Biomedical now has several possible vaccines in development. Your blood will not be used to develop a vaccine. Computer modeling of versions of the vaccine DNA has been accomplished and it’s that information that this vaccine series is being developed from. Not your blood.
HOW DO WE GET OUR RESULTS? Each person tested will be provided their own unique number which they can use to get results by logging in to a specific portal set up by our medical and public health professionals.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE TEST? Nearly 100 percent accurate at detecting antibodies.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE? Nothing different than if you test negative first. You have been exposed to the virus, so may be tested with PCR to see if you have an active infection and need treatment.
WHY TELLURIDE? Because it’s where the executives of United Biomedical live, along with their children.
WHO IS UNITED BIOMEDICAL? Lou Reese and Mei Mei Hu are the executives of United Biomedical, and have been successful in developing ELISA antibody tests, as well as vaccines for other diseases, as well as being in clinical trials for an Alzheimer’s vaccine.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR FINAL TESTING RESULTS ARE IN? CAN WE ALL GO OUT AND PARTY?? Public health officials need to determine that. But if we stay safely in quarantine and identify who is exposed, who is actively infected, and who has never touched the virus, we can make more strategic decisions of who to isolate to prevent further spread and our chances of moving on to the next stage of “new normal” increase dramatically.
WILL MY INFORMATION BE SHARED? No, none of your personal information will be shared with state or federal officials—so undocumented workers living here do not need to worry about that.