Frequently asked questions

T cells

What are T cells?

T cells, which are a type of white blood cell, are the first responders of the adaptive immune system. When you’re exposed to a virus or bacteria, T cells jump into action by killing infected cells and stimulating antibody production. After your body fights off an infection or disease, a small number of T cells remain in the blood—often even after antibodies have waned—to remember how to ward off these invaders if they ever return.1,2

  1. Zou J., et al. “Robust SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell Immunity Is Maintained at 6 Months Following Primary Infection.” Nat Immunol. 2021.
  2. Dalai S., et al. “Clinical Validation of a Novel T-cell Receptor Sequencing Assay for Identification of Recent or Prior SARS-CoV-2 Infection.” medRxiv. 2021.


What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a contagious respiratory viral infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). It was first identified in late 2019, and is responsible for the pandemic.

T-Detect COVID

What is T-Detect COVID?

T-Detect COVID is a blood test that can help you understand your immune system’s response to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). It is the first T-cell test to identify an adaptive T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or past infection. It measures T cells instead of antibodies to detect recent or past SARS-CoV-2 infection.

T-Detect COVID is only available in the United States (not including United States Territories) to those age 18 or older.

T-Detect COVID and vaccines

If I got a COVID-19 vaccine, will it affect my T-Detect COVID result?

The impact of vaccination on T-Detect COVID results has not been established. The results from this test should not be interpreted as an indication or degree of protection from infection.

A recent study showed that 75% of 333 patients with no known history of natural infection had a positive T-cell test result after being vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.1 More research is needed to better understand these results. Adaptive Biotechnologies is actively gathering additional data and will provide updates as information becomes available.

  1. Snyder T., et al. “Magnitude and Dynamics of the T-Cell Response to SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Vaccination.” Oral presentation at: Infectious Disease (ID) Week. September 2021; virtual conference.

Blood draw

How do I prepare for my T-Detect blood draw?

The T-Detect test is performed using a standard blood draw. You do not need to fast or prepare in any other way before the test is performed.

Cost and payment

Is T-Detect covered by insurance?

T-Detect is not currently covered by insurance. It is FSA/HSA eligible.

Eligible patients may qualify for discounted testing based on their income or medical expenses as part of the Adaptive Assist Patient Support Program. There are two ways to submit an Adaptive Assist application:

  • Call Patient Support at 855-236-9230, Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. or Fridays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).
  • Print an application and mail it to:
    Adaptive Biotechnologies
    Dept LA 24084
    Pasadena, CA 91185-4084

Patient ordering

How do I order T-Detect COVID?

Patients can order T-Detect COVID by answering some eligibility questions and submitting payment. An independent healthcare provider will evaluate your responses and authorize your test order, if appropriate.

If you select Labcorp for your blood draw, you can schedule an appointment online or walk into any of Labcorp’s Patient Service Centers for a blood draw. Labcorp will have the appropriate materials to collect the blood sample, so you will not receive a test kit. Labcorp blood draw services are not available in Hawaii, North Dakota or Vermont.

If you choose mobile phlebotomy (an in-home blood draw) through ExamOne, Adaptive Biotechnologies will ship you a test kit and ExamOne will call you within two days of test authorization to schedule an appointment.

Healthcare professional ordering

How can a provider start offering T-Detect?

Contact Clinical Services, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) at 833-T-DETECT (833-833-8328) or to start the onboarding process.

Blood draw kits

Will I receive a blood draw kit?

If you choose to get your blood drawn at Labcorp, they will have the appropriate materials to collect your blood sample. You will not be shipped a test kit.

A kit for sample collection will be sent directly to you if you choose to have an ExamOne mobile phlebotomist (blood draw technician) come to your home or another location you choose. You will need to give the test kit to the phlebotomist to use when collecting your blood sample.

T-Detect COVID results

What do T-Detect COVID test results look like?

T-Detect COVID results are positive or negative. A positive test result with T-Detect COVID indicates that a T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was detected. A positive result should not be interpreted as an indication or degree of protection from infection.

A negative result indicates that a T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2 was not detected.

T-Detect COVID has been shown to have high sensitivity. Sensitivity refers to a test’s ability to designate an individual with disease as positive. A highly sensitive test means there are few false negative results, and thus fewer cases of disease are missed.1

A recent study demonstrated that 90% of patients tested positive for T cells up to 10 months after a confirmed positive PCR test.2 Data for T-cell testing greater than 10 months are not yet available. Therefore, in certain circumstances, including but not limited to the number of days since infection, the test may be negative despite a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The clinical performance of T-Detect COVID has not been established in all circulating variants, but is anticipated to be reflective of the prevalent variants in circulation at the time and location of the clinical evaluation. Performance at the time of testing may vary depending on the variants circulating, including newly emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2 and their prevalence, which change over time.

The performance of this test has not been established in individuals that have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The clinical significance of a positive or negative result following COVID-19 vaccination has not been established, and the result from this test should not be interpreted as an indication or degree of protection from infection after vaccination.

  1. “Disease Screening – Statistics Teaching Tools.” New York State Department of Health website. Updated April 1999. Accessed December 9, 2021.
  2. Data on file. Adaptive Biotechnologies. 2021.


What is ExamOne?

ExamOne is a national mobile phlebotomy service provider that Adaptive Biotechnologies has partnered with to provide blood draw services to patients.

Mobile phlebotomy is a mobile blood draw service in which a certified phlebotomist, someone trained to draw blood, visits your home or other location to collect a blood sample.


Is my information kept private?

Adaptive Biotechnologies follows all state and federal privacy rules, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under the CARES Act, we are required to report results to appropriate public authorities.


Can children get a T-Detect test?

T-Detect is only available to those 18 or older. The test has not been validated for children under the age of 18; therefore Adaptive Biotechnologies cannot accept or process orders for those under age 18.