What is antibody testing for COVID-19?
Why is it important? How do you get tested?
When do you get the results & what will the result mean?
What are the known & potential risks as well as benefits of the test?
With all the talk about coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in the news, it should not be surprising that there is confusion and a lot of questions about tests and how they differ. A test to diagnose COVID-19 (typically nose swabs) determines if you currently have the disease. Antibody testing (blood drawn) looks to see whether or not you have had COVID-19 and now have the antibodies against the virus.
That noted, the purpose of the COVID-19 IgG Antibody Test is to detect antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins) against the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. They are located in the liquid part of blood specimens which is called serum or plasma, depending on the presence of clotting factors. “IgG” represents immunoglobulin G which is what the test is looking for.
This particular test detects IgG antibodies that develop in most patients within 7 to 10 days after COVID-19 symptoms begin. They remain in the blood even after the infection has passed. These IgG antibodies will indicate that you may have had COVID-19 in the recent past and now have developed antibodies that might protect you from future infection. The level of immunity and how long immunity lasts are not yet known. Ongoing studies will eventually reveal more data on this.
One of the benefits of antibody testing is that people who have recovered from COVID-19 may be eligible to donate plasma, a part of their blood. This could be used to treat others with severe disease and boost the ability to fight the virus. Additional benefits include:
- The results will help to indicate how many people actually had COVID-19 and recovered, including those who showed no symptoms. This will assist in determining who might have immunity.
- It can help in contact tracing to assess who else is at risk of infection and how far the disease spread.
- It may help limit the spread of COVID-19 to your family, co-workers, customers and your community.
How do you get tested or set up testing for your employees?
As shown in the picture above, the IgG Antibody Test for COVID-19 is blood draw. The sample is sent to our labs with the results returned in approximately 48-72 hours. To set up testing for you or your employees, please reach out to Jonathan Pitts at 478-972-8917 or click to email
Potential risks of the antibody test include:
- possible discomfort, bruising, infection or
- other complications that can happen during a blood sample collection.
- Serious complications are very rare.
Also, there is a still a chance that the antibodies indicate past infection due to other coronaviruses. Those are the ones that cause the common cold. In closing, like many tests, there is a small chance that a positive result is incorrect (false positive).
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