This test offers a way for a person to know if they have had COVID-19 in the recent past. Some results also may suggest an ongoing infection.
The pinprick test is a self-contained kit similar to a pregnancy test that provides a yes or no answer within minutes. Accuracy of these coronavirus antibody tests has been widely questioned.
The National Jewish Health antibody test requires a blood draw and is performed in the National Jewish Health Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories, a high-complexity, CLIA-approved laboratory. The test is manufactured by Epitope Diagnostics and has been refined and validated at National Jewish Health. In most cases, results are reported within 24 hours.
National Jewish Health offers the IgG antibody test directly to consumers, without a physician order. Antibodies are proteins that your body makes to fight an infection. The presence of any antibodies indicate that the immune system has seen the virus and begun a reaction against it. IgG antibodies develop in most patients within one to three weeks after symptoms of COVID-19 begin. IgG antibodies remain in the blood after the infection has passed. A positive IgG test result indicates that you have had COVID-19 and likely no longer have the disease.
National Jewish Health offers the coronavirus IgM antibody test only with a physician order. IgM is the first antibody produced by the immune system and often disappears soon after the coronavirus is cleared from the body. A positive IgM test indicates that you may have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and your immune system has begun fighting the infection. However, you may still have an active infection. IgM antibody test results should be discussed with a physician.
The presence of antibodies indicates that your immune system has seen the COVID-19 virus and begun to fight it. For many diseases, the presence of antibodies indicates resistance to future infections or less severe disease if an infection does occur. The length and strength of the protection can vary depending upon the disease and severity of infection. Protection after initial infection has not yet been proven for COVID-19. Patients should not reduce their infection control efforts if they have had positive antibody testing results.
National Jewish Health purchased the basic test from Epitope Diagnostics and then refined and validated the tests within our own labs. National Jewish Health Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories is a high-complexity CLIA-approved laboratory with extensive experience conducting and developing novel antibody tests for health care and pharmaceutical companies.
We validated our antibody tests against more than 60 samples from known COVID-positive patients; serum drawn from 20 patients in 2017, before COVID-19 existed; and five samples from patients infected with non-COVID coronaviruses. We have submitted that validation date to the U.S. FDA.
No test is perfect. There is always a chance of false positive results, false negatives and cross-reactivity with non-COVID coronaviruses. However, our expertise, experience and validation results indicate our antibody tests are among the most accurate available. When the tests are administered eight to 40 days after exposure, we estimate that the clinical sensitivity for the IgG test is 96 percent. Specificity is greater than 99 percent. Tests from five patients with non-COVID coronavirus infections show no cross reactivity with the COVID-19 antibody tests.
Patients who self-refer and make an appointment online for an COVID-19 IgG antibody test must pay $89 in advance. National Jewish does not bill insurance for antibody testing appointments booked online WITHOUT a physician order. The IgG antibody test is available without a physician referral. All other tests require a physician order.
Patients who want their insurance billed will need a referral from their physicians. After National Jewish Health receives a referral, you will be contacted for an appointment. Please note that National Jewish Health does not determine insurance coverage. You should contact your insurance provider to understand antibody testing coverage and to confirm that National Jewish Health is an in-network hospital laboratory.
For the antibody test, patients with appointments drive to the testing area located in the National Jewish Health parking lot on Harrison Street between 13th and 14th avenues. At the entrance to the testing area, you will be asked a few questions to confirm your appointment and to make sure you do not have ongoing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Patients with symptoms of an active infection will not be able to get an antibody test.
Once you have passed the screening, you will be instructed to park your car in a small area near the testing trailer and to remain in your vehicle. A National Jewish Health representative will let you know when it is your turn and will escort them from the car to the testing trailer. Inside the trailer, you will get a simple blood draw much like you would get at a doctor’s office. This takes about five minutes. Once that is done, you return to your car and leave the coronavirus testing area.
Results are sent to you electronically through our patient portal. Results will only be sent by mail only if specifically requested when you booked the appointment. The results will include a brief statement of the results and explanation of some terms used in the report. Any follow-up questions should be referred to an individual’s physician. If you do not already have a physician, you can make an appointment with a doctor at National Jewish Health.
Children 10 and older can get the COVID-19 antibody tests at the drive-through testing area. Children younger than 10 will need a physician referral and an appointment to get the test in the pediatrics department inside National Jewish Health. You will need to talk with your physician or you may make an appointment with our pediatrics department.
If you are 18 or older and do not already have a secure, patient portal account, you will automatically receive an email to activate your account with the subject of Activate Your Patient Account Now. Please check your SPAM folder before taking additional steps — this personalized email is the fastest way to access your account and results.
If you do not receive the email to create an online patient account within two hours of registering for the appointment, please click here to request a new account. Your new request will be completed within three business days.
You will receive an email notifying you when your test results are available.
To view test results, log in to your secure, patient account and look for Test Results & More on your personalized dashboard. Click View Test Results and select View Details to download a PDF with your results.
Access to additional patients must be under an authorized representative’s (parent, guardian, etc.) account.
Your COVID-19 IgG antibody test results will have one of four findings: Pending, Not Detected, Borderline or Detected.
Pending: The laboratory is still processing your blood sample.
Not Detected: IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were not detected in your blood. When antibodies are not detected the test result is considered negative. Negative results for IgG antibodies do not rule out a SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in people who have been in contact with the virus. Your immune function may have been suppressed by other health issues or the antibody level is too low for this test to detect.
Borderline: Borderline results show that the test detected some IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, but the antibody level was too low to determine that you have had a past infection. Borderline results may indicate a very early infection or a prior infection with other Coronaviruses. It is recommended that the test be repeated at a later date.
Detected: IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in your blood. These results indicate a recent or prior infection with SARS-CoV-2. Rarely, a false positive result can occur due to a prior infection with other human Coronaviruses.
Any follow-up questions should be referred to an individual’s physician. If you do not already have a physician, you can make an appointment with a doctor at National Jewish Health at 303.398.1355.
COVID-19 IgG Test Fact
A test result status of pending indicates that the laboratory is still processing your blood sample. You will receive an email notifying you when your test results are available.
Yes, appointments can be cancelled. If you find you need to cancel your COVID-19 antibody test, please do so at least 48 hours before the appointment and complete the cancellation form.
If you wish to reschedule, please book a new available appointment time AND submit the cancellation form at least 48 hours before the appointment (we cannot change your scheduled time in one step).
You will pay for your new appointment and receive a refund for the cancelled one(s), subject to the cancellation policy above.
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
Download COVID-19 Materials