Coronavirus

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is now offering COVID-19 antibody testing for its patients, following a study the health system conducted of the available tests.

The results of antibody tests — which determine if someone has ever had the disease and has developed antibodies in response — are used to understand what percentage of the population has been afflicted with the illness.

A team of two doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Lebanon campus identified one antibody test that stood above the rest, according to a news release Thursday from the health system.

That was based on performance characteristics such as sensitivity — the ability of the test to detect antibodies after someone has recovered from COVID-19 — and specificity — the ability of the test to give a negative result in those who haven’t been infected, the release says.

While Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Lebanon campus will be solely responsible for testing the antibody results, any patients within the health system — including those at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene — can have a specimen sent to the laboratory, according to Dr. Robert Nerenz, co-leader of the antibody study.

The health system is able to test 7,200 samples each day, he added.

To get tested, patients should speak with their physician, the release says.