What is antibody testing?

Intermountain Healthcare is using a COVID-19 antibody test authorized for use by the FDA that may help identify previous COVID-19 infections. The antibody test works by taking a blood sample to see if an individual has developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The blood test is performed on carefully selected Intermountain patients and caregivers who meet specific criteria. The FDA is permitting antibody test development through a formal emergency use authorization (EUA) process and making available approved tests to health systems and members of the public across the U.S. The use of the test in this way will increase knowledge about the test. Intermountain is committed to keeping caregivers, patients, and our communities informed about what we know and don’t know currently about antibody testing.

Antibody Testing FAQ

What are the differences between COVID-19 nasal testing and COVID-19 antibody (serologic) testing?

The standard nasal testing will continue to be the first line of testing for the general public. The nasal swab test is used to identify if a person has, or does not have, COVID-19 in their nose on the day the person is sampled. The antibody test works by taking a blood sample from an individual who has developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to identify pasts infection with the virus. Both types of tests have limitations. The standard nasal swab test does not determine if the patient has had COVID-19 at any time prior to the test. Antibody testing by itself will not reliably identify individuals who are currently infected with COVID-19.

What is saliva testing?

Intermountain is transitioning to collecting saliva instead of swabbing deep in the nose for testing samples. This new process should be much more comfortable for patients and enable us to collect samples from more patients at one time while maintaining the quality of our testing. This new collection method is available to patients ages 6 and older, though patients may choose the swabbing method if they are unable to produce enough saliva.

NOTE: Please do not take anything by mouth 30 minutes before testing. This includes eating, drinking, brushing your teeth/using mouthwash, mints, smoking, chewing tobacco, etc.