Synergy Wellness is a clinic in Huntsville that offers a variety of treatments including hormone replacement, suboxone treatment for opioid addiction, ketamine infusion therapy for depression, and other forms of “wellness treatments,” according to Dr. Steven Werdehoff, one of the main physicians at Synergy. I had the opportunity to speak with him about the new COVID-19 tests that they will be offering to residents of the Huntsville/Madison community.
The original nasal swab tests were designed to pick up actual COVID-19 particles within the patient’s nasal passages. In contrast, these new tests don’t detect the actual virus itself, but they do detect the antibodies that are produced when the immune system recognizes the virus in the body. The tests are administered with a finger prick and use just one drop of blood to test for IgM and IgG antibodies. The results come back within 10 minutes.
The tests originated in Wuhan, China (the original source of the virus) and while they are not officially FDA approved, they seem to have some promising potential. Dr. Werdehoff stated, “We’ve already done a trial run and there’s been a greater than 90% sensitivity in those trials. What that means is that over 90% of the tests have been able to detect the antibodies. So, there’s a greater than 90% chance that your test, if you have one, will find the antibodies.”
Lori Tillery, who manages Synergy Wellness, seemed very optimistic about the new test. She said, “The reason for this new test is that people want to know now if they have the virus. They don’t want to wait.” Tillery is referencing the fact that you could be waiting for your results for up to two weeks if you take the nasal swab test. Tillery also stated that for this test, “You don’t even have to get out of your car. We will have tents set out and once you get here, people will come to you in PPE attire and perform your test.”
If you would like to get a test, you can do so in one of two ways. According to Synergy Wellness’s Facebook page, “YOU MUST BE PRE-REGISTERED PRIOR TO TESTING. Please TEXT 256-603-5651 with your First and Last name, Date of Birth, email address, and phone number, OR contact us directly through Facebook messenger with the SAME information. We will call you to complete the pre-registration. Testing will be held Monday-Friday 9am to 6pm.”
The tests cost $50 per test and payment will be part of the pre-registration process. The clinic will accept payment via credit or debit card. They will determine a time for your test in order to ensure there is no overflow of patients at the testing site.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Data and Surveillance Dashboard for COVID-19 cases, the state of Alabama has 2,089 confirmed cases of the virus, 55 reported deaths associated with the virus, 14,765 total tests administered.
Update: WHNT interviewed Dr. Werdehoff about their testing. You can watch the interview below.
Dakota Layton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he is working to earn his Master of Arts in Philosophy.