Experience trying to get a Covid antibody test for our son

In February our family had a crazy illness roll through the house, it involved a few of the symptoms (not all) including changes in taste, fevers, etc. It also lasted an unusually long time (3 weeks), but we weren’t super sick, we each took a couple days off of school/work but nothing out of the ordinary.

So roll forward and our endo said no to getting my son tested for antibodies because…well no good reason given, but they weren’t going to give us a prescription for the test.

So we assume we can just go pay out of pocket and get the Abbott test offered through Quest. Nope, took 17 year old to the local center and they won’t perform the antibody test on a minor without a doctors prescription. So my wife took the test and if she is positive, we will push the issue at our next appointment. But holy hell, have the money, want the test, but they won’t provide it. This is everything wrong with things, no wonder we are under utilizing our testing resources.


Does it have to be the endo? Do you have a different doc? Like just a primary care doc you could use?

Yes, we have a primary, but don’t have an appointment, and in our current HMO you have to have the appointment to get any action. So we wait until that appointment in a few months…

1 Like

Why not give them a call anyway, they might say yes.

Yes, depending on my wife’s results we will push the issue sooner, but honestly I am still a bit dumbfounded that a 17 y/o can’t get a test without a prescription and his parents consent.

1 Like

@Chris. You very well may not need to worry. It seems that exposure to Covid-19 is not necessary to confer immunity. T- cell immunity, acquired from exposure to other coronaviruses ( most notably the common cold), may account for 50% or more of the population being immune.

This could explain the course that this virus has taken, with it coming on like a storm and then rapidly tapering off. It also could explain herd immunity bring reached in Sweden with only a 20% infection rate.

T-cell based vaccines are likely to be the magic bullet for Covid-19.


We were sure my MIL had it back in late Jan early Feb for four weeks. She just got her antibody test results: negative.

My husband thought he might have had it. Antibody test: negative.

We wanted it to be positive for both of them. No such luck for us! I’ll be curious how your wife’s results come back.

Yeah we are too. We could have had it, but certainly with the low number of confirmed cases in Oregon it isn’t likely, but peace of mind that only costs $120 is hard to find sometimes. Whatever it was, it was unlike anything we have seen in recent memory.


For sure. Whatever it was around here, it was weird.

1 Like

Agree that that seems silly that you can’t get the test. That said, I would be cautious about interpreting any antibody tests with much weight, as it seems like many if not most are not particularly reliable (perhaps having the opposite problem of the RNA tests, that they produce false positives): https://time.com/5842978/covid-19-antibody-testing-concerns/


It’s possible that as test kits become more readily available that they will expand testing opportunities. Verily (Google) is testing in our state through the Project Baseline program. They say it’s free, but in reality they bill your insurance to try and offset the testing costs for those who can’t pay or have no insurance.

While I personally want to know, the NAA (Antigen) test only shows if you have been recently or are currently infected and is readily available in our county. The antibody test is much more elusive here.

1 Like

My wife and I had covid antibody testing. Here’s a summary of our experience:

A notice popped up on my Facebook feed said a local medical clinic was offering covid antibody testing. It said there was a waiting list and to call the clinic to get on the list.

I researched the clinic online. It seemed legit. They had profiles of several nurse practitioners who were their providers and a wide variety of conditions they treated… so I called and got on the list… maybe 2 weeks later they called and we made appointments.

I arrived at the location… which turned out to be a chiropractors office (not a medical clinic which I was expecting). We had our kids with us so one of us went in at a time and the other stayed with our kids in the car. Upon entry they scanned our foreheads for temp at door. They required us to wear masks; which they’d advised us of in advance on phone. Upon entering they led me to an exam room (if you can call it that at a chiro office) where I waited a few minutes. Then a male Nurse Practitioner came in and explained the process. They did a finger poke and dropped several drops of blood into a vial which he shook around a bit and then applied to an applicator that I can best describe as being very similar to a home pregnancy test…

After about 1 minute the. “Control line” on the test showed up which he explained to me meant there was an adequate sample… he further explained that the other two lines (which had two different acronyms assigned to them which I can’t remember) were actually what indicated antibody positivity). Neither of them showed up after 10 minutes for either of us.

I’m glad we did it but honesty it seemed pretty cheesy and I don’t feel like it added much value or understanding to our lives.

It turns out that the NPs (I want to clarify that my wife is an NP, as are our primary care providers and I have tremendous respect for them) all practice out of another clinic and just perform some services at this chiropractic office (I tend to be skeptical of chiropractors in terms of being actual medical providers). So I guess I was a bit turned off that this office portrayed themselves as a medical practice solely because they had NPs providing some services there… but whatever

Since further guidance has come out discounting the accuracy of these tests I have even less faith in the results… I was very sick in February… with an illness that came on very fast about a week after traveling through seattle airport… it was an unusual and unprecedented illness for me… I felt very poorly but it didn’t stop me from working every day for the next 1-2 weeks… although the cough persisted for several months afterward… I’ll always wonder if I was an early covid patient— the antibody testing did not help answer that question for me.


My wife’s test was a full blood vial draw and is supposedly using the new Abbott test which supposedly has a specificity of 99.6% and a sensitivity of 100%. We shall see what the results show.


I really hope one outcome of this pandemic is that people stop trying to work when they are sick, and that employers provide better sick leave to employees. I think people going to work sick is a huge factor in spreading all types of viruses. I bet overall productivity would rise if people stayed home sick, because colds and other viruses wouldn’t spread as much, and so overall fewer people would need to take time off sick.


I don’t think the Covid-19 antibody tests detect T-cell immunity. So if you were infected with another strain of coronavirus when you were sick, you would likely have some immunity.

I agree people shouldn’t go to work sick.

My situation makes that a little more complicated since I go to work for weeks at a time, so in this case I was already there and nobody could replace me… so I didn’t really have any option unless I was so sick I required hospitalization… but I was able to stay away from almost everyone the whole time


I go to OneMedical and it was fairly easy for me to get an antibody test. Then again, we had a contractor develop COVID-19 a day after working all day in our house, and my father-in-law tested positive for antibodies and visited us in late February, so I had two exposures.

Mine was negative so it did not seem worthwhile to have our kids or my husband tested. Our symptoms were very canonical COVID though – coughing, a high fever and fatigue.

In SAn Francisco, they have said anyone can get a (PCR) test, but they set up a site in the Tenderloin, a notorious hotspot for poverty and homelessness, and because they set it up through Verily, people couldn’t get tested who were homeless because they didn’t have a Gmail account…

And across the country, many academic labs moved mountains to set up COVID testing, and hospitals continued to not use them because they have their EMR systems and it was too much f a hassle to add them in as a provider…

Lots of these types of hidden hurdles I’m sure are going on.

Hope you are able to get that test.

1 Like

Well, I am also optimistic about those T-cell results from that study, but we don’t yet know what they mean. The study was quite small and we don’t know if that T-cell based recognition would result in complete immunity, reduced disease severity, unchanged disease severity or even worse severity (unlikely, but we need to rule that out). In any case, I hope they do further studies on this. I am also wondering if this pandemic will reveal just how many diseases work this way. Many people who get flu are asymptomatic too but we maybe don’t recognize the extent of it.

Sweden has not yet reached herd immunity though; they are still having deaths at some of the highest rates in the world. That’s even with an incredibly robust healthcare system, an unusually healthy populace, and natural roadblocks for the virus, such as low numbers of people per household.


Our doctor at the time said it was likely adenovirus, which is basically a gigantic range of viruses.

Wish we could know. Ours was definitely different from a cold or a flu as well.

1 Like

That is really a shame. Makes you shake your head, when common sense can’t prevail.

1 Like