The COVID antibody test is a method of detecting antibodies in the body of a COVID-19 patient (or someone suspected to have been infected by the virus) to confirm the presence of COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2. In recent research published by the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 can be detected through a serological test three to forty days after the onset of infection.
The most effective method of detection was using an RT-PCR test on the patient’s serological sample. It was also discovered that the antibodies specific to the virus emerged by the fourth day of a full-blown infection and onward. Antibody detection remains an essential tool in the battle against COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2.
The coronavirus antibody test is considered an advanced method of viral detection because it can confirm if you have the virus at the moment symptoms emerge. It can also tell people if they have contracted the virus in the past, despite not having any symptoms.
Because we have to remember that COVID-19 produces patients positive with the virus, sans the common symptoms associated with the disease, asymptomatic patients have become problematic for many countries. After all, they can quickly spread the diseases because they don’t feel anything.
What is serology testing?
Serology testing is the process of finding out if a person has been exposed or has been infected by a particular disease in the past. This method primarily detects antibodies in the body, which emerge when the body develops its antibodies to fight off different kinds of infections.
The human body is capable of developing antibodies against a variety of invaders, from viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Even in the face of a human pathogen that it has never met before, the body is still capable of fighting it off to a certain degree. Of course, it is not always successful, which is why we require urgent medical care when things get worse.
Take note that antibody testing is not a guarantee that you will not be infected anymore with the same virus. So even if you get a positive result from an antibody test, it is safer to assume that you might get infected again should you meat someone who is affected with COVID-19. Experts recommend that people continue to follow the general safety and health guidelines set forth by local health authorities and the World Health Organization. These guidelines include social distancing (1-2 meters away from others), wearing masks to quell the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets, and washing your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water.
Antibody testing shouldn’t be confused with diagnostic testing because they’re used for different purposes. In general, antibody testing is used to determine past infections (usually after the symptoms have already passed). In contrast, diagnostic testing is done to determine if there is a current and active infection taking place.
The most preferred method for determining if COVID-19 has infected a person is the nasopharyngeal swab test. In the United States, UCLA Health can perform this swab test in more than 25 locations. The swab tests are sent to UCLA’s laboratory for confirmation and testing.
Serology testing, on the other hand, seems more complicated, but it is also just as straightforward. Instead of taking samples from the nose and throat, you will need to provide a blood sample. The blood sample will then be sent to a lab where they will attempt to determine if there will be an immune response. The most common method is called the ELISA test. Unfortunately, many of the standard criteria for COVID-19 is producing false-positives.
The Quest Diagnostics COVID antibody test is one example of a commercially available COVID-19 immune response testing kit that is currently being mass-produced for global use. According to the manufacturer, this test checks for IgG that emerges when a person has been exposed to the virus either presently or in the past.
It is made specifically to track down the presence of novel coronavirus, but it is not manufactured for checking active infections. According to QuestDirect, it takes around ten to eighteen days after infection for the body to produce a sufficient quantity of antibodies for ample detection. The US FDA allows the use of antibody testing with the following key points in mind:
- That antibody tests are vital in tracking down the virus and helping healthcare systems take care of their patients by fighting COVID-19.
- That this type of analysis can help hospitals determine if a patient has had COVID-19 in his/her body before, and if the person in question has developed an immune response to it.
- That it is unclear presently if people who have had COVID-19 before are more prone to becoming re-infected. However, in the future, extensive testing can help generate more useful information for the eventual treatment of the disease.
- That people who can determine an adequate immune response to COVID-19 may be able to recover faster and go back to work more quickly than others. This includes resuming normal activities in society, and not just working.
- Antibody testing can be used if you are a suspected COVID-19 carrier, but you have never been tested before, and therefore, there might be a long lapse of time between your infection and now.
- If you have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19, this type of testing can determine if your body has developed an immune response to the novel coronavirus or not.
The Roche antibody test is yet another serology test aimed at determining if a person has been infected before by the novel coronavirus. The manufacturer states that this antibody test has a sensitivity of 100% after PCR confirmation and that the high specificity of the Roche antibody test is necessary for determining reliably if an individual has indeed been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Roche is aiming to release millions upon millions of this testing kit with the aid of the CE mark of Emergency Use Authorization. The production of these new test kits is aimed to expand the capacity of hospitals for mass testing, possibly infected individuals.