Type O blood at the San Diego Blood Bank
Bags of typo O positive and negative blood. Courtesy San Diego Blood Bank

San Diego-based Genalyte announced Thursday its SARS-CoV-2 Multi-Antigen Serology Panel, which tests for antibodies the body produces in response to the novel coronavirus, is available to the public in partnership with San Diego Blood Bank.

A reliable antibody test represents a crucial step in helping to develop an understanding of the virus, including how long antibodies stay in the body, and if people with antibodies are less susceptible to reinfection.

Testing will occur at San Diego Blood Bank centers across the county as well as an additional temporary drive-thru testing site at Westfield UTC. Further drive-thru testing sites may be made available later in the month.

Genalyte is an accredited and certified laboratory, which ensures test results are meeting and exceeding industry standards for clinical laboratory testing. The company said its serology panel has an accuracy exceeding 99 percent.

“High-quality, extensive antibody testing is needed to provide essential feedback to physicians, health care providers, and to our community,” said Cary Gunn, CEO of Genalyte. “Our antibody panel allows us to test for IgM and IgG antibodies with overnight test results from our San Diego lab. This is important because IgG antibodies in particular typically remain long after a person has recovered and are believed to be a marker of sustained immunity, although the duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 needs further study.”

SARS-CoV-2 is the official designation for the type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.

“Determining a person or a population’s level of exposure and potential immunity is not only essential to facilitate research to develop an understanding of the virus, but also to enable our city with the knowledge we need to safely return to daily activities,” gunn said.

The antibody testing service is meant for people who are no longer experiencing any symptoms and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days. People with active symptoms should contact their doctor to discuss options. Once a blood sample is drawn, it will be sent to Genalyte’s core San Diego lab for processing, and results will be available to participants within 24 to 48 hours.

“San Diego Blood Bank exists to save lives and support community health. Working with a trusted partner like Genalyte is an extension of our mission, and we are proud to provide greater access to COVID-19 antibody testing for our community,” said Mark Edmunds, chief medical officer for the blood bank. “The importance of aligning with a proven partner, able to deliver high-quality test results is essential in our efforts to place SDBB at the leading edge of transfusion medicine in the face of this pandemic.”