GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) — A Garden Grove doctor says he is bringing rapid coronavirus tests to Orange County.
In just 10 minutes, the rapid serology test uses one drop of blood to determine if an individual has the antibodies to fight COVID-19.
“If we have the antibodies, that means we’ve been exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Michael Dao.
Unlike the regular coronavirus swab test that is approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, Dao said this rapid serology test isn’t perfect. The test has not been reviewed by the FDA.
Dao said the test is not meant to diagnose. Instead he hopes to use the test to help slow the spread by identifying those who may have been exposed to the virus and don’t know it.
“This is more for the 80 percent of the infected patients who have no symptoms,” Dao said. “They’re out walking around and don’t know they’re infected. That’s when they spread the virus.”
Dr. Jim Keany, who works in the Mission Hospital ER, said the serology test is not 100 percent reliable, and it can’t be used as a diagnostic tool. However, it could help slow the spread of the virus like it already has in South Korea.
“This is all a trade off,” he said. “We’re trading accuracy for speed. To have an answer right away, even though it may be inaccurate in a small percentage of cases, it is helpful.”
Keany said the serology test is better than nothing.
“Given the fact right now that we essentially have no testing, versus that test — I would welcome that test if we had it.”
The Orange County Health Department is warning against the use of COVID-19 tests that have not been approved by the FDA, but Dao said he still plans to get thousands more of the rapid serology tests to Garden Grove next week.