Local woman discovers she had COVID-19 thanks to antibody test

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- One woman says a mysterious illness she had weeks ago turned out to be COVID-19, and she got the answers thanks to an antibody test.

During the holidays, Violina Lungu says she started getting really sick.

“My shortness of breath was so bad. So, I was barely talking, and here I am coughing nonstop,” she said.

Lungu says she went to her doctor and was told she had a bad cold. However, she says what she experienced was far worse than any cold she ever had.

“Just laying down was making it worse to breathe,” she said.

Lungu says she followed the early reports of the coronavirus when it was still overseas, and wondered if somehow she could have the mysterious illness. Then the pandemic made its way to Western Washington.

She says when she finally was able to get an antibody test, she got the answers she had been expecting.

“I did really think it was going to come back positive for antibodies,” she said. “The doctor came back and she said had news for me and then she’s like, 'you did have the COVID-19.'"

University of Washington Medicine researchers say they’ve done 15,000 antibody tests in the last couple weeks, and results are continuing to become more and more reliable.

“It’s responsible to run this test,” said Alex Greninger. “We can let people know they’ve been infected."

Greninger is the Assistant Director of the Clinical Virology Lab at the University of Washington Medical Center.

He says these tests can provide peace of mind to people like Lunug.

“If you have antibodies, you’re going to be less likely to get the virus going forward,” he said.

He says the more information these tests provide, will help give researchers answers to questions surrounding COVID-19.

If you are interested in getting an antibody test, reach out to your primary medical provider for more information.

Greninger says people who test positive for antibodies can sign up to see if they are eligible to donate plasma to Bloodworks Northwest. You can find more information on how to do that here.