What Is An Antibody Test? Why Do You Need It?

Antibody Test

There’s still a lot to learn about the coronavirus. For one, scientists have only recently learned that symptoms can look like those of other conditions, including the flu and other forms of pneumonia. While testing wasn’t widely available at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, some people were tested and didn’t have any symptoms.

Antibody tests look for past infections and inform you about the status of antibodies in your body to help you fight against COVID-19.

There are different types of antibody tests. This blog will cover the most common ones, including a general overview of what they do and how to interpret them. 

First of all, let’s describe what the tests are looking for:

Antigen: A substance that is recognized by one or more antibodies in a person’s immune system, which triggers an immune response from the body against cells that produce it.   – Antibody: A protein molecule produced by B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) in response to antigens as part of the adaptive immune system.

The antibodies, only a few nanometers in diameter (less than one thousandth the size of an average human hair), recognize and bind to anything that is foreign. Once they’ve attached themselves via electrostatic interactions between opposite charges along its length — called affinity constant — it blocks access or destroys these invaders.

An antibody’s sole purpose in life is to search for any sort of “intruder” which may cause harm to our body. The minute ones are able to find them by recognizing something specific — called an epitope — and then bind with those through their affinity constants until they either block off the entrance area or destroy all intruders who dare to invade your personal space!

A Test for Past Infection?

Your body’s main defense against infection is the antibody, a type of protein that fights off exposure to something. However, when someone has been exposed for too long without protection from an antigen or vaccine, they can develop antibodies themselves and become sick.

An antibody develops after you have come into contact with something outside your own DNA sequence (like bacteria), protects you by recognizing these invaders as foreign substances, and destroys them before they harm any particular cells within our bodies.

Getting rid of an infection can be one thing, but curing it is a whole other battle. Some infections last for some time after you get them taken care of, while others may only last for a few weeks or so before they start to dissipate and disappear completely from your system forever.

The catch here is that these tests should not be depended on for current COVID-19 infections. Antibodies take one to three weeks in the body before developing, and while they can tell you if someone has been exposed or had an infection within a few days of exposure, this test cannot tell you your status with regard to COVID-19 Test because it takes time for antibodies to develop.

How Do You Get An Antibody Test?

A person can get an COVID-19 antibody test by contacting their healthcare professional, or alternatively, Covid Clinic. We can then administer a simple blood test to find out if there are any antibodies that could be fighting the COVID-19 virus, and find out if you need additional treatment if infected.

Signs That You Need To Get A Test Done:

  • No sense of taste or smell
  • Chest pains
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Constant cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • You have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

What Do Your Test Results Mean?

            Positive:

  • A positive antibody test result may mean that you have antibodies from previous exposure to an infection caused by the virus.
  • Antibodies to protect against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 also provide protection from getting infected with it again.
  • The CDC is still investigating how long the antibodies will last, but cases of reinfection are rare.
  • Sometimes, a person can test positive for having those antibodies even when they actually don’t have them. That is known as a false report. 
  • You need to have a conversation with your healthcare professional about your results so you can take further precautions. They may also suggest that you get further testing done to double-verify your current situation. 

    Negative:
  • You might not have antibodies for COVID-19, or you must not have gotten infected with the virus for your body to produce the antibodies. 
  • You might be currently having an infection or must have gotten vaccinated. Usually, it takes 1-3 weeks after an infection for a body to produce its antibodies. 
  • The only way to be absolutely sure that an individual does not have COVID-19 is by having a test that detects the viruses’ genetic material. Unfortunately, some types of tests cannot detect the virus in the body. 
  • This means that these tests can give false negative results, meaning that the test is positive, but the individual does not have a COVID-19 infection.

Since you cannot predict whether you’ll be immune after a positive COVID-19 antibody test, it’s essential to continue to take precautions to avoid catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

The most effective way of avoiding infection is to avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick, limiting time spent in crowded places, and making sure whenever you are out, that you adhere to following safe distancing guidelines in order to take proper care of yourself! 

We still have a lot to learn about the coronavirus, including what symptoms it can produce and how often people are infected without exhibiting any symptoms. Fortunately, we now know that antibody tests can help us better assess infection status and inform you of your body’s ability to fight against COVID-19. Ultimately, understanding more about this virus will only make our world safer for everyone. Have you taken an antibody test?

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