WASHINGTON - Josh Fisher says he had a five-day fever in early March and other flu-like symptoms well before there were any confirmed cases of coronavirus in the District, but now thanks to a blood test he knows he was exposed to the virus.
The antibody test involved just a finger prick, and experts say they can detect whether or not someone has fought off the virus.
The tests could be a crucial step to identifying people with immunity to the virus, with an eye on allowing those people to go back to work and school. There is still much that is unknown about the accuracy of the blood tests and the immunity surrounding COVID-19.
Fisher got his test Thursday from Farragut Medical and Travel Care in downtown D.C. When he was sick he says he was told by his normal health care provider that he did not qualify for the swab test that detects active infection.
"It was two seconds. They finger prick. They take two blood droplets," said Fisher.
A doctor at Farragut Medical and Travel Care advised Fisher not to ignore social distancing or change his habits since so much is unknown about how long someone who has been infected with COVID-19 has immunity.
But Fisher says he feels like a weight has been lifted.
"It's just kind of nice to know," Fisher said.
According to the FDA 70 companies are producing antibody blood tests for coronavirus, but most have not been certified by regulators.
Even the FDA's commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn expressed concern about the tests on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.
"I am concerned that some of the antibody tests that are in the market have not gone through the FDA scientific review, may not be as accurate as we would like them to be," Dr. Hahn said.
Yet officials are hopeful once enough people are tested and the tests are certified to be accurate immunity may be used as the foundation for getting people back to work and school and easing social distancing restrictions.