SAQ: What is immunity testing?

Your COVID-19 questions answered

SAN ANTONIOSAQ: What is immunity testing and is it going to be available in San Antonio?

According to Doctor Ruth Berggren with the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, immunity is the body’s ability to fight off illnesses. “You might remember from high school biology, you’ve got white blood cells that fight off foreign invaders and also antibodies, which are proteins,” Dr. Berggren explained.

The antibodies stick around in the blood and you can measure them. There is now testing to see whether someone is making enough antibodies to fight off the new coronavirus.

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Dr. Berggren said “we won’t know exactly what it means right off the bat. What we hope is that when we find the antibodies, that means a person had the disease. They recovered and they’re immune. We won’t know for sure until the test has been around and we’ve tried this out whether these people are truly immune or not.”

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Dr. Berggren said the test has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and will be available in San Antonio within in the next two weeks.

“It’s going to be very helpful for us,” Dr. Berggen says, “because we’ll be able to figure out how many people have actually been infected already or gotten over the disease. And that will give us a better sense of where we are at in our community with fighting off this virus.”

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WATCH the full interview with Dr. Berggren from the News at 9.

Find more answers and ask your own questions on our SAQ page. Watch anchor Steve Spriester ask local leaders your questions weeknights at 6 p.m. on KSAT12 and 9 p.m. on KSAT-TV and You can also sign up for our free SAQ newsletter to get answers to the most common questions in your inbox.

About the Authors

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

A San Antonio native currently in her dream job as the executive producer behind KSAT special programming like Fiesta parades, Dia De Los Muertos and the Rodeo special. When she's not prepping for these productions, she's helping run KSAT's social media channels.

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