Dozens upon dozens of New Mexicans had ‘the worst flu of their life’ this past winter.
Was it the flu, or was it actually COVID-19?
As the list of symptoms associated with the coronavirus disease grows, so too do the questions of infection.
The New York Times -among other news outlets- report that ‘hidden outbreaks’ could have been occurring in cities across the United States well before known cases of COVID-19 were reported. Could Albuquerque be one of those cities?
To find answers, many New Mexicans are looking into antibody testing. One of the only ways to know if you’ve had -and recovered from- COVID-19, the test looks for antibodies created by your immune system after it has successfully killed the virus. According to WebMD, it can take up to four weeks for your body to produce these markers after recovery.
While labs like TriCore and Qwest require doctor’s authorizations, Southwest Labs does not. For a fee of $99 and an appointment, patients can have the test performed, with results typically received between 48 to 72 hours thereafter. Appointments are typically available the same day or within one or two days of initial requests.
While health officials warn that these tests are not 100% accurate, they can provide patients with a good indication as to whether they’ve already developed antibodies to the deadly disease. Equally important, officials warn that there are no guarantees these antibodies provide immunity. While other coronavirus-related illnesses like SARS and MERS have shown immunity of several months to a few years, the novel SARS-CoV2 is just too new to fully understand.
Nonetheless, it is widely agreed upon that broad testing of active virus and antibodies are vital in returning society to some sense of normalcy in the absence of a reliable vaccine.