January 22, 2021

COVID-19 Antibody Test – All you Need to Know

The COVID Antibody Test is used to test your body’s response to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 viral infection.

It is not to be used as a diagnostic test (detecting presence of COVID-19), but is used for Sero surveillance purposes, i.e. to understand whether a person has encountered the infection in the recent past.

Here, we will discuss all the aspects and queries related to the Antibody Test.

What Is an Antibody Test, or Serology Test?

An antibody test is a detects the presence of special proteins called antibodies in your blood. These are naturally produced in the body by the immune system to fight off infections, like COVID-19. The same thing happens when you get a vaccine, like a flu shot, to build immunity to a virus.

Interestingly, the antibody test does not check for the presence of the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system — your body’s defense against illness — has responded to the infection.

How Does an Antibody Test Work?

A technician will take a bit of your blood, like through a finger prick. The test looks for one or both kinds of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • IgM antibodies, which happen early in an infection
  • IgG antibodies, which are more likely to show up later

The IgM Antibody is produced within a few days of the onset of symptoms and stays till a few weeks of the illness, typically 2-3 weeks for most infections.

The IgG antibodies start being produced about 14 days after symptoms start. These usually stay in your blood long after the infection goes away, but it is not clear how long that is for the novel coronavirus.

What is the Difference Between a Coronavirus COVID-19 Test and an Antibody Test?

A COVID-19 test, also called a diagnostic or antigen test, detects the presence of the active virus. It tells you if you have the virus in your body at the moment when you’re tested. It is generally done using a swab (nose and/or throat), and also known as the swab test.

The Covid Antibody test for SARS-CoV-2 shows if the person has had the novel coronavirus at some point in the past and has produced the antibodies to fight it. It could be gone, or you could still be contagious, depending on when the person is tested.

Why Do We Need Antibody Testing?

This tests helps the health officials determine the extent of spread of the coronavirus, especially in hotspots, areas where it is suspected to be widespread, and densely populated areas.

One could have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 and not known it. Not everyone who gets it has symptoms, and it is sometimes mistaken for the common flu due to it’s similar symptoms. This test helps you find out your status of the COVID-19 infection.

These tests may also help with an experimental treatment for COVID-19 called convalescent plasma. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood.

Who Should Get an Antibody Test?

If you think you might have come into contact with the coronavirus, or if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered, you can get tested for antibodies.

How Can You Book an Antibody Test?

The Antibody Test is done through a simple Blood Test. It can be taken from the comfort of your home without risking exposure by visiting a medical facility.

You can BOOK the COVID-19 Antibody Test on Healthspace in all major cities of India. The Samples will be collected from home and reports will be provided online.


What Does the Antibody Results Mean for You?

If you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, it probably means you’ve had the virus at some point of time. It’s also possible to get a “false positive” if you have antibodies but had a different kind of coronavirus.

Positive result might mean you have some immunity to the coronavirus. But it’s too early to know how strong it is or how long it might last.

Negative result means you haven’t come into contact with the virus or you haven’t had it long enough to make antibodies. You could also have been exposed and not have antibodies. This is called a false negative.

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