Austin-Based Firm Offers COVID-19 Antibody Tests

Tony Cantu

AUSTIN, TX — Austin-based Total Primary Care has become the first medical provider in Texas to secure and offer a COVID-19 antibody test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, officials announced on Thursday.

More specifically, the primary care system has now received the Cellex COVID-19 antibody test in both its Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth markets. Cellex’s test produces results in approximately 15 minutes, in office. The tests adhere to Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) standard, officials noted.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based Cellex’s rapid point of care test looks for the antibodies against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, officials explained. The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the test on April 1.

Demand for COVID-19 antibody tests continues to grow in Texas as “stay-at-home” orders are relaxed and people prepare to return to work and resume activities outside the home. Eager to reopen the state economy, Gov. Greg Abbott last week allowed restaurants, malls and theaters to reopen at partial capacity in the first phase of the reopening, and announced the second phase of to include such businesses as barbershops, nail salons and tanning salons will begin this Friday (May 8).

Access to the Total Primary Care test comes as the company rolls out programs designed for employers that enables organizations to have such testing performed either off-site or on-site at their location, officials said in a news release.

“We’re working hard to be at the forefront of COVID-19 antibody testing because we believe knowledge is power when it comes to helping people manage their health,” Robert Sek, CEO of Total Primary Care, said in a prepared statement.

Since a high percentage of cases appear to have mild or no symptoms, people often are not getting tested for the virus while it’s active in their system, officials noted. Total Primary Care is seeing particular interest from people that either had COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure in the past, and now want to see if they have the antibodies, they added.

Additionally, company officials noted most scientists agree that a positive result from a credible antibody test likely means a person has some degree of immunity from this virus, including the World Health Organization, though how long any level of immunity will last is still being researched.

Dr. Dan Mackay with Total Primary Care says there are three main reasons credible antibody tests are helpful now: “First, many people want the psychological benefit of knowing if they have COVID-19 antibodies. It’s no license to be reckless or any less vigilant, but it can help people’s peace of mind. Secondly, positive antibody test results can begin to put an individual on the path of being able to donate convalescent plasma, potentially helping others in their fight against COVID-19. And third, data compiled from test results can give public health officials a better understanding of the pandemic.”

The cost for an antibody test is covered by in-network insurance plans, with many plans waiving co-pays to encourage testing.

About Total Primary Care

Total Primary Care is a large primary care system in the greater Austin area, operating 16 Total Care Primary Care and Total Men’s Primary Care locations in Central Texas — including Cedar Park, Georgetown and Hutto in Williamson County. The company also has 8 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Men, women and children are now able to get COVID-19 antibody tests at all area locations, officials said.

According to information found on the Total Primary Care website, the company has several locations in Austin and surrounding communities:

A total list of Total Men’s Primary Locations can be found here: https://totalmens.com/#locations. A list of Total Care Primary Care locations can be found here: https://total.healthcare/#locations.

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch