Hoboken offers rapid antibody testing to residents

Same day results possible, but no guarantee of immunity

Hoboken will provide antibody testing for residents at the gymnasium adjacent to the 7th and Jackson Street Park.
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Hoboken will provide antibody testing for residents at the gymnasium adjacent to the 7th and Jackson Street Park.

Hoboken will offer rapid antibody testing for its residents this month and next, with results provided in 10 minutes or the same day via text message.

The first round of testing will take place on Wednesday May 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with additional testing dates on May 27 and May 29, with more to come in June.

Residents must register for an appointment online to be tested. Walk-ins will not be permitted. Those who register online at  http://www.hobokennj.gov/antibody will be sent an appointment time, and the city will pay for the cost of a test for any Hoboken resident who does not have health insurance.

On May 20, the testing site at the gymnasium at 601 Jackson St. will become one of the first rapid antibody testing sites in the state and have the capacity to test more than 750 people.

The tests have become available through a partnership among the city, Prompt MD, and Power Analytics, and comes after a pilot launch on May 8 in which first responders and front-line workers were tested.

“I’m extremely thrilled that Hoboken residents now have access to antibody tests,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “The pilot launch last week was a success, with over 250 people tested for antibodies and receiving rapid results. Not only does this test offered at our Hoboken site let people know whether they have antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection, but also whether they have antibodies built up from a current infection. Making this test available to all Hoboken residents who want it will provide us with important data as we begin to plan for a safe reopening for our region.”

Boditech’s AFIAS Rapid COVID-19 Antibody Tests will tell individuals if IgG, an antibody found in the blood, is present, and indicates whether or not an individual had COVID-19 in the past.

Unlike other antibody tests, the Boditech rapid tests also test for levels of IgM in an individual. IgM is the first antibody to appear in the response to initial exposure, which would indicate a current infection to COVID-19.

Social distancing still important 

Of the more than 250 individuals who were tested as part of the pilot, two tested positive for IgM, indicating current exposure to COVID-19 and were provided with medical advice to self-quarantine.

“Nothing about this Covid-19 virus is simple, not the diagnosis, not the daily care, and not the long-term economic impact,” said Keith Barksdale, chairman of Power Analytics. “However, we believe our point of care accurate rapid testing platform with real-time data analysis could be the tip of the spear to conquering this global problem. We are proud of Mayor Bhalla’s vision to allow the City of Hoboken to partner with PromptMD, Boditech, and Power Analytics for Hoboken to become the standard for every city in the United States to provide Covid-19 Antibody testing with real-time data certification to every resident.”

If an antibody test comes back positive for either IgG or IgM, the individual should not assume he or she has full immunity to COVID-19, and continue to take precautions, including social distancing

The tests, which use blood from a finger prick, are awaiting FDA approval, but are currently certified for all of Europe and are being used in 15 countries.

According to the manufacturer, in clinical trials, the test provides over 96.6 percent sensitivity and specificity, higher than required by the FDA.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is consuming significant medical supplies and resources, whereas our innovative AFIAS platform only requires a fingerstick of a blood sample with results in 10 minutes, thus eliminating a need to use a swab and other related materials that are in short supply,” said Adam Choe, president and CEO of Immunostics, Inc. Boditech USA. “The AFIAS antibody test offers rapid results and is easy to operate by anyone, which enables it to be deployed wherever COVID-19 tests are required in Hoboken.”

According to Hackensack Meridian Health, widespread antibody testing could give researchers a better understanding of how many people have been infected and how deadly the virus really is.

Researchers can then use this data to better predict how COVID-19 might affect the future, including why some people are more severely impacted than others.

“Providing antibody testing for everyone who needs it will help give Hoboken the tools it needs to keep everyone safe,” said City Council President Jen Giattino.

Residents who would like to get tested can also register at https://promptmd-covid-19-may-20.poweranalytics.com/pre-register.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.