A local chiropractor who has been offering a rapid antibody test that claims to tell you whether you have or had COVID-19 for $50 per person, shut down the program on Friday after being told he needed to have a medical doctor oversee it.
Russell Campanella, the owner of Campanella Chiropractic and Wellness in Chili, had been promoting the tests on his website and social media pages.
Campanella told the Messenger's news partner, News 10NBC, he got the testing kits from a local company, Alpha Checkpoint. The owner of Alpha Checkpoint says she gets them from China and has been shipping them to medical providers across the country.
Rebecca Ayers and her family went on a cruise in early March.
“I got sick two days before the cruise ship came back to New York. I have asthma, severe asthma so I was doing nebulizer treatments, I had online doctor appointments,” Ayers said.
But she couldn’t get tested for COVID-19. So, when she saw Campanella’s Facebook post, she signed up right away.
On Monday, Ayers, her husband and their son drove to the Chili office and paid $50 each for the test.
“You had your scheduled time, you drove your car up, there were two RNs in masks and they sanitized everything from the buckets that the tests were in, they alcohol swapped our fingers, did the little prick test and that was it … less than 20 minutes later, Russ came out to tell us the tests were negative,” Ayers recalled.
Campanella also texted them pictures of the actual tests.
Russ Campanella wouldn’t agree to an on-camera interview but told News 10NBC his state association told him as long as registered nurses were administering the tests, he could offer them, so he hired two RNs to do it.
But now he says,he’s been advised he needs a medical doctor to sign off on it too and so far, he hasn’t found one that will agree.
When asked about antibody testing on Thursday, Monroe County Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza said, “None of the antibody testing that I'm aware of has yet to be validated. So, all the antibody tests and I believe there's one that's even available here in the Northeast, none of them have been validated, which means that if we were to deploy those tests they would still need to be backed up by something more reliable.”
New York state has been working on an antibody test of its own.
On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state lab can currently process 300 per day but he hopes that number will be up to 1,000 per day by next week.
Ayers says at this point, she’s not sure whether to trust the results she got from the rapid test but she’s certain the state needs to come up with a plan to validate more of them.
“So many people right now are living with this and the unknowns and I think it would just help people's anxiety level all the way around for people, their loved ones, their family. Not only whether you are positive but did you ever have it to begin with — so I think anything is better than being told that they won't test you at all,” Ayers said.