Health and Fitness

When Should Antibody Testing Be Performed, and Why Is It Required?

Covid-19 came as a shocker to many at a time when people were not prepared to face a pandemic of that magnitude. Many people succumbed to the virus and its effects were felt in every aspect of life. Thanks to the various tests that were discovered, we can now identify those who are infected and those who were affected and recovered without any symptoms from antibody testing results. Among these tests is one that’s known as an antibody test. 

In this article, we shall discuss the test for antibodies, including what it is all about, who should have it, and why it is done. Keep reading for more insights about the antibody testing results. 

What is an antibody test? 

Also referred to as a serology test, an antibody test is a blood test done to identify those who were infected by Covid-19 and recovered by developing antibodies against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. You need to understand that a test for antibodies is not meant to identify patients who are currently suffering from COVID-19. It is not meant to detect the virus but antibodies that developed to fight against the virus. 

Before the Covid-19 vaccine was discovered, people who recovered from the virus were tested to see if they developed antibodies against the SARS-COV-2 virus. Nowadays, if you were vaccinated against COVID-19 and took an antibody test. The test will reveal that you have antibodies in your blood. An antibody test is usually done to see if you are immune to Covid-19 from antibody testing results. 

Antibodies are proteins that are usually developed by the immune system in our bodies. They help to fight against viruses, bacteria, or fungi that invade our bodies in the form of infections. The immune system helps to identify foreign bodies and fight them before they cause any harm to body cells and tissues. 

Once a person is infected by Covid-19, it takes about three weeks for the immune system to develop enough antibodies to be detected by the antibody test. For this test to be effective enough to produce accurate results, it should not be done too early after an infection. 

Once a person recovers from COVID-19, the developed antibodies will stay in the blood for several months before they disappear. Researchers have not yet established how long antibodies against Covid-19 can stay in the blood. From the antibody testing results, you can’t tell whether the detected antibodies can protect a person against the virus if it attacks again.

Who should undergo the Covid-19 antibody test? 

Anyone can undergo the antibody test. But you need to consult your primary physician first to see if this type of test is necessary. If you tested positive for Covid-19 in the past, you need to get tested for antibodies. There are patients who don’t develop any symptoms after infection. These patients are known as asymptomatic patients. If there are high cases of COVID-19 infections in your community. You need to take the antibody test to know whether you are among the asymptomatic patients. You will know this if you test positive for antibodies against Covid-19 and you don’t remember being sick. Antibody tests help to know how the virus is spreading in a community. This type of test also helps to detect the number of patients in a community who could be asymptomatic. Those who are not showing any symptoms can infect others without knowing. 

Besides detecting antibodies against Covid-19, an antibody test may also be used to detect other types of antibodies related to the SARS-COV-2 virus. These antibody tests include:

Binding antibodies

This type of antibody test is used to detect if a patient developed antibodies against Covid-19 once they were infected with the virus. However, they are not designed to tell how strong your immunity is against Covid-19. 

Neutralizing antibodies

This relatively new antibody test is used to detect a subgroup of antibodies that may deactivate the virus. It shows how strong or effective your antibodies are and whether they will protect you against another Covid-19 infection. You can get this test if you test positive for binding antibodies in the antibody testing results. 

The downside of having the Covid-19 antibody test is that it may not always produce accurate results. This means that it is not credible in some instances. Another shortcoming of an antibody test is that it does not have a clear purpose. Researchers are not really sure the reason for getting an antibody test. 

Conclusion

That is all you need to know about the antibody test. This test should not be mistaken for the Covid-19 test, where the doctor performs a test to detect the presence of SARS-COV-2 in a patient’s body. An antibody test is often performed on patients who had Covid-19 and recovered. If a person recovered, the body fought off the virus by developing antibodies. An antibody test will show whether there are any antibodies in the blood or not.

 

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