What you should know about COVID antibody testing
October 14, 2022
What will a COVID Antibody Test show?
Antibody testing for COVID-19 has been around almost as long as the COVID pandemic itself. Despite this, there is still some uncertainty regarding what this type of test does and what purpose it serves. Antibody testing looks for, as the name says, antibodies to SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are a type of protein produced by the body’s immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. In the case of COVID, as with other illnesses, once an infected person has recovered, the antibodies remain in their system and can provide protection against future infection. At the moment, there are several types of vaccines available against COVID-19. Vaccination can also cause antibodies to develop by giving the immune system a blueprint to fight off diseases. COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus which means there are a lot of unanswered questions about how much protection these antibodies provide and how long that protection will last. Testing yourself for COVID antibodies can be useful for determining if you have had the virus even if you weren’t sick. Many COVID infections are asymptomatic or cause very mild illness. COVID symptoms are often similar to other common illnesses. If no antibodies are present, it usually means they have either not been infected or the infection occurred long enough ago that no antibodies are detectable.
Can a COVID Antibody test tell if you are immune?
Some of the most important answers about COVID immunity are still not entirely known. People who had had COVID and recovered have been shown to have an immune response that provides at least some protection. Vaccinations for COVID can also provide protection as well as lessen the severity of illness when a breakthrough infection occurs. Both vaccination and prior infection will cause the production of COVID antibodies. An antibody blood test can detect these antibodies but with the limited data available, test results cannot determine if a person has immunity. Currently, there is not enough research to give a definitive answer on how a person’s antibody level correlates to their degree of immunity.
How long do COVID antibodies last?
People who have been infected with COVID-19 and recovered will typically have at least some degree of protection against future infection. Unfortunately, unlike diseases such as chicken pox or measles which often result in lifelong protection from future infection, natural immunity to COVID is temporary. Exactly how long that immunity lasts is still unclear. It is generally accepted that natural immunity from a previous infection wanes over time. That time period may differ depending on the person and how severe of an illness they developed. The protective effects of COVID vaccines have also been shown to lessen as time goes on necessitating further boosters. Another important factor is the multiple variants of the COVID virus. COVID-19 is an evolving virus and the immune system reacts differently to different variants. Vaccines that were developed based on earlier versions of COVID have been shown to be less effective against newer variants. Likewise, the natural protection from a previous infection is less likely to prevent illness from a more recently developed strain of the virus. Some studies have shown the most effective protection from COVID comes from a combination of natural recovery and vaccination. People who have been infected with COVID and are fully vaccinated have been shown to have a more robust immune response that those with only one or the other.
How do I get a COVID antibody test?
Request A Test offers a COVID antibody blood test that anyone can order. Our direct-to-consumer lab testing service lets you choose the test and get it done at a lab in your area. We work with 2 of the largest lab companies in the US and over 4,000 locations so finding a testing site near you is no problem. Don’t worry about getting a doctor’s order or contacting your insurance provider. Just place your order and we’ll take care of the rest. In addition to COVID antibody testing, we offer hundreds of other testing options. Taking care of your health doesn’t have to be inconvenient and expensive. Request A Test makes lab testing quick, easy, and affordable.
Affordable, Rapid, Confidential