Coronavirus: Some SoCal doctors to utilize new rapid testing to detect COVID-19 immunity

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The roll out of a new type of rapid testing for COVID-19 may help doctors in the fight to slow the epidemic.

A simple finger stick test can tell you a lot about where you stand when it comes to coronavirus.

Dr. Morris Kokhab is the medical director of Hollywood Urgent Care and 18 other UrgentMed clinics.

"We have a rapid diagnostic serology test, and what it is testing for is antibodies in your system," he said. "For COVID-19, you know the earlier you start treatment, the better outcome."

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It can indicate whether someone has already contracted coronavirus and if they've recovered.

This is the antibody test so many have been asking about.

A drop of your blood is placed in a reader, and the results are given in about five minutes with 90% accuracy. Then, you'll know if you've developed immunity.

"What we're suspecting, just like the flu, you will be immune to the disease for about up to a year. And then hopefully next year, we'll have a vaccine," Kokhab said.

Hollywood Urgent Care will begin testing on Friday.

"Anybody can get tested. No appointment necessary. You get evaluated by a doctor and get tested for COVID," said Jonathan Martinez with Hollywood Urgent Care.

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The antibody test is very different from the swab tests being used broadly to test for the coronavirus infection. The FDA just issued an emergency use authorization for a new five-minute rapid swab test that is run on machines doctors use for rapid flu tests.

Kokhab said all of these tools will help health officials slow the spread of the outbreak.

"There are patients that are asymptomatic that have COVID and just don't know about it," he said.

Kokhab also said if doctors, nurses and first responders are discovered to have immunity, they can return to the job instead of isolating for two weeks at home.
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