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4 Things You Must Know Before Antibody Testing

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A famous COVID-19 test helps to find if a person has the coronavirus, while anti body testing or serology testing checks if you might have had a past infection of this virus. So, it’s critical to understand the difference before you request such a test. Understand who needs this test and why it’s not for everyone. 

An antibody test involves a blood test, the COVID test uses a nasal sample, and both can go into a lab for further analysis. Let’s explore why it’s necessary to get a serology test. 

Why People Need Antibody Test

Not everyone needs to go for a serology test, but it’s ideal for those who: 

  • Previously experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and suspected of SAR-2 VIRUS but weren’t tested.
  • Are about to have a medical procedure in a medical facility and had previously tested positive for COVID-19 diagnostic test.
  • Want to donate plasma-blood parts containing antibodies and have experienced a COVID-19 infection in the past?
  • Also, a doctor can order anti body testing for a child he suspects has multisystem inflammatory syndrome for children (MIS-C).  

If you’re unsure whether you need this test, talk to your doctor about your current health and past infections, and he will guide you accordingly. But it will also depend on the availability of these tests in your region.

Things you Need to Understand if Planning for an Antibody Test.

If you make a good candidate for this test, consider these helpful tips to prepare you accordingly. 

1. What to Expect

Unlike the COVID-19 test, which requires a nasal sample, your healthcare provider will draw a blood sample from your arm or finger for a serology test. Then he will take this sample in a lab to check if you have developed some antibodies in your body. The results might take a few days, though they might be ready on the same day in some places. 

2. What are Antibodies

These are proteins that your immune system produces in response to infection after getting vaccinated against a virus attack. Antibodies work by identifying any foreign substances in your body, fighting and preventing future infections.

After a COVID-19 infection, the doctors recommend waiting for two to three weeks before going for anti body testing. Because this is the time the body takes to develop the antibodies, these may last for several months, but there’s ongoing research to determine how long they can stay in the body or protect you against recurring infection. 

There are rare cases of reinfection, so it’s necessary to learn more about antibodies immunity. Until we’ve finally gotten the proof and effectiveness of these COVID-19 antibodies, it’s prudent to continue wearing masks in public, keeping your hands clean, and social distancing. 

3. Types of Antibodies

It’s crucial to understand that antibody tests can detect different types of antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus:

Binding antibodies- These are the most commonly used. As the name suggests, these antibodies bind their target by blocking the cell adhesion, interfering with its function. Though these detect if the body has gained antibodies, they don’t show their extensiveness. 

Neutralizing antibodies- This advanced antibody test detects a subgroup of antibodies that may inactivate the virus. It not only binds the target but also neutralizes its downstream cellular effects. You can have this test after a positive test result for binding antibodies because it will detect the effectiveness of your antibodies in blocking the virus. 

4. Antibody Test Results

Like any test, you can only get positive and negative options. But what do these mean in anti body testing?

Positive- While a (+) result indicates the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in your blood, it shows that you had the virus previously. So it can show positive results when you don’t have antibodies or a previous infection. However, this might also indicate false-positive results. So this usually happens when the quality of the test is flawed, among other reasons. 

Negative- When the test gave negative results, it didn’t detect any COVID-19 antibodies. Since antibodies require time to develop in the body, you must wait several days after infection before taking a serology test. And this removes the doubt about whether you previously had a COVID-19 infection. However, if you take the test soon after a COVID-19 illness, you might get a false-negative result. 

In Conclusion

Do you still need to go for anti body testing? If you answered yes, then you know all the necessary things you need to know about this test before you go for it. And even if you test negative, please continue with health precautions of wearing a mask to protect yourself and others and curb the spread of COVID-19. Also, remember there is more study required for the efficacy of antibodies’ immunity in the body. 


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