SOUTH OREGON – “You get an idea of how many people actually have this disease and don’t even know it,” Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson Co. health officer
The medical community is learning more about the spread of the corona virus every day and antibody tests have proven to be important.
“That starts to give us an example of how much disease penetration there might be above and beyond people you know is sick,” Dr. Shames
Dr Shames said blood tests can look for two types of antibodies, IGM and IGG.
“IGM is first and generally when it’s positive it means you are actively fighting certain diseases. And then over time IGM disappears and IGG comes out.”
Dr Shames said the question of immunity was a complicated problem because it was still unclear whether IGG antibodies provided protection against COVID-19.
And if so, we won’t be how long that protection will last.
“Having a positive antibody test will imply that you are protected and maybe it’s true for this disease or maybe it’s true for some people with this disease, we haven’t been positive,” Dr. Shames
Tom Hottman of Sky Lakes Medical Center said the Klamath Falls hospital tested 400 people for IGG antibodies last week.
3 people tested positive, but Hottman will not reveal whether people are aware that they have a virus or not.
“We need to get far more tests to get more information. “That’s not enough data to work with now,” Hottman said.
With tests now available to the public, Hottman believes the results will be a vital resource not only for local medical professionals but also throughout the country.
“[To] understand how prevalent viruses are in our community, “he said. “And the more data we can get, the more information we can get from that data and the more ready we are.”
Sky Lakes Medical Center says it can bring antibody tests to the public because of the hospital’s long-standing relationship with the Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
When asked whether Jackson County will conduct an antibody test in the near future, Dr. Shames said the county already had the ability to do it. However, due to the relative absence of disease in the community, he said we do not use it as a strategy at this time.
Medical professionals say the antibody test is for people who don’t show symptoms of the virus or for people who have recovered from it.
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