Antibody testing is performed to discover signs of past infection.
The antibody testing needs to be game-changer; instead, they are revealing how people are still vulnerable to Coronavirus infection.
Antibody test checks if you had a past infection of the virus that causes COVID-19 by checking your blood looking for antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that fight against infections and prevent you from getting that disease again (immunity). This is how you acquire immunity to the virus. Antibodies are specific for a particular disease. For example, measles antibodies test prevent you from measles if you are exposed to it again, whereas they won’t protect you from getting exposed to mumps.
Antibody tests can’t tell if you have COVID-19 infection because it takes one to three weeks for your body to make antibodies after infection. To find if you are currently infected, you must do a viral test. It identifies the virus from the respiratory system, like a swab from the nose.
Bust the Biggest Myths about the Testing
Myth 1: All Antibody Tests Show Reliable Information
Only a fragment of the test is presented to reach FDA specifications. In the past, The FDA didn’t oblige companies to get approval from the agency, but the test quality seemed contradictory. But it was changed on May 4, when the FDA declared that corporations must submit validation data and request emergency utilization authority (EUA) to sell a test. There are less than 20 dozen tests that achieved the certifications. It is best to check documents of at least 99 percent accuracy (ideally 99.5%) before you do a test. The FDA has published the information on their website.
Myth 2: If You Have Antibodies, You Are Prevented from Getting Infected Again
There is no confirmation that a positive antibody test protects from the infection. You can get some protection with positive antibodies. A reliable antibody test reveals if your body has produced antibodies to a past infection. But it can’t reveal if you have an active infection currently.
Myth 3: You Can Go to Your Physician’s Clinic for a Test
You can’t take an antibody test at the doctor’s clinic.You need to visit a large laboratory chain like LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics. You can also make an appointment for a test through the primary doctor. You also need to check your insurance policy for coverage. And you should know there is no home test available for antibodies, you must go to the lab. Tests such as pin-prick blood tests don’t show accurate results and are not suggested at present.
Myth 4: All Antibody Tests Check the Same Thing
It is not true. Different tests check different types of antibodies , a few are more specific than the rest. Some antibodies measure if you have been infected with a previous infection. Only a few antibody tests are certified by the FDA and are reliable. Only some of the antibody tests receiving EUA authorization from the FDA are reliable and they are at least 99 percent accurate for specific antibodies against COVID-19. There are tests which only check another type of virus antibodies.
We focused here on antibody testing. We hope you have discovered some of the myth busters, before you decide to do a COVID-19 antibody test.