Huntington Hospital Offers COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Dr. Kimberly Shriner is an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital.

Huntington Hospital recently began a serologic testing program to identify individuals who have been exposed to – or recovered from – the coronavirus infection and may have developed potentially protective antibodies.
Protective antibody infusions are a well-established method to treat a variety of infections and current studies are showing the benefit for critically ill patients with COVID-19.
Huntington Hospital in Pasadena is an expanded access site for investigational therapies to treat coronavirus, including the use of convalescent plasma (CP) for the sickest patients.
Like many factors associated with the pandemic, there is a shortage of CP available for use.
“That is our rallying cry,” said Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital. “If you had coronavirus or the antibodies, we are asking you to donate plasma through the Red Cross. Hopefully, there is something we can use.”
Shriner is part of a team that treats the between 60-70 COVID-19 patients who are currently hospitalized at Huntington, a number she said “is plateauing, but starting to go down.”
“We know it’s out there because we are still getting new patients,” Shriner said.
A Pasadena native, Shriner said she is working on her second pandemic, having begun her career during the HIV outbreak in the United States. She and her fellow healthcare workers are hoping the proven method using convalescent plasma will help stall the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged late last year in China and has since spread worldwide.
“When people recover from this, they develop convalescent antibodies, proteins that circulate through the body and eat up the virus,” said Shriner. “There is also something called IGG – Immunoglobulin G – which are antibodies that develop about four weeks after contracting the infection and can make the host immune.”
Shriner said the plasma donation is “harmless” and has possible benefits for those who have the virus.
“We are asking for those who have had this disease to make a donation of their plasma to help others recover,” she said.
If you or someone you know is positive for COVID-19 antibodies, the CP can be used to help these patients.
Those who have completely recovered from COVID-19, have been symptom-free for a minimum of 10 days, and are interested in antibody testing are asked to make an appointment at hospital’s outpatient lab (located at 10 Congress, Suite 520) by calling (626) 397-5792. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Exer Urgent Care facilities in Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge are also providing antibody testing. Visit www.exerurgentcare.com to learn how to get tested.
Residents can donate plasma at the nearest American Red Cross, which can be located at www.redcrossblood.org.

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