Understanding the Coronavirus Antibody Test: A Complete Guide

coronavirus antibody test

The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be giving us more questions than answers. From testing, to immunity, to its origin, our understanding changes day by day.

One informative resource, however, is the coronavirus antibody test. 

But how is it different from the other tests out there? And what significance does it hold?

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about coronavirus antibody tests.

What Is It?

Simply put, a coronavirus antibody test will tell you if you have ever had coronavirus. It is not an indicator of whether or not you are currently infected with the disease, but just that at some point you have had it. Antibody tests are also known as serological tests.

In this way, antibody tests differ from diagnostic tests, which determine whether or not you are currently infected with coronavirus.

Whenever the body successfully fights off a disease, for a varying period of time we retain antibodies, which help us to fight against future reinfections. For the winter flu, antibodies do not remain in the body long-term, which is why we can be reinfected year on year. With other diseases, such as Chicken Pox, we carry the antibodies for life and can never be infected again.

It is not yet known whether it is possible to be reinfected by Covid-19 after contracting the illness once.

How Can I Get a Test?

You can obtain a coronavirus antibody test by contacting your healthcare provider. Procedures and policies can vary from state to state, so make sure you get the relevant information for your local area.

The process of taking the antibody test involves a medical professional taking a blood sample. No preparation is necessary before you arrive at your appointment.

This test cannot currently be carried out at home. Depending on where you live, the results can be obtained within the same day, or up to three days from taking the test. 

It should be noted that there is not an unlimited supply of antibody tests. Some areas do not have an abundance of available tests. If you have not come into contact with someone who has tested positive or experienced symptoms yourself, you may be denied access to a test.

What Are the Possible Results?

After you take a coronavirus antibody test, the possible outcomes are: positive, negative, or equivocal. The result of your test can depend on several factors in addition to whether you have had coronavirus.

Firstly, the duration of time between having the infection and the antibody test. Also, each person’s individual immune system will provoke a unique response, and therefore two people exposed at the same time may not obtain the same antibody result.

Finally, any treatment taken to manage coronavirus symptoms can also impact the results of the test.

It is possible to obtain a positive antibody result even if you haven’t experienced the symptoms of coronavirus, because many people are asymptomatic. This phenomenon seems to occur particularly amongst children and younger adults, as well as those who do not have any underlying health conditions.

Equally, if you obtain a negative result, you could have the virus at that moment. This is because of the potential 2-week delay in developing measurable levels of coronavirus antibodies.

Even if you obtain a positive coronavirus antibody result, it is important to stay healthy during the pandemic.

How Much Do They Cost?

The antibody test has no upfront costs when obtained from your doctor or health care provider. If you are insured, the fee will be billed to your health plan, and if you are uninsured, it will be covered by a specific government program.

If you are covered by Medicare, both antibody and diagnostic tests are free of charge. The U.S. Congress passed a bill ensuring that testing is covered by medical insurance, so don’t let the worry of medical bills stand in the way of getting tested.

Why Do I Need One?

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a persistent cough, high temperature, or loss of your sense of smell) you should obtain a diagnostic coronavirus test. However, if you wish to find out whether you have had coronavirus in the past, an antibody test will provide this information.

It is a very useful indicator to authorities of what percentage of the populations have been infected by the virus. 

Also, it is worth noting that antibody tests do not provide 100% accuracy. For example, it can take up to 2 weeks for antibodies to become detectable in the body. Therefore, a second antibody test is sometimes necessary for reliable results.

If, for example, you have spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who has been positively diagnosed with coronavirus, and this interaction occurred more than 2 weeks ago, then this is a good reason to take an antibody test.

What’s more, you should get tested if your medical provider, local, or state authority requests that you do so. This is particularly significant for front-line workers, such as medical staff and teachers.

Furthermore, a positive coronavirus antibody test (a confirmation that you have had coronavirus at some point) does not mean that you cannot pass the infection on to others. Therefore, it cannot be taken as a ‘free pass’ to ignore social distancing rules or other pandemic restrictions.

Do I Need a Coronavirus Antibody Test?

After reading this article, you should be well aware if you need to take a coronavirus antibody test, and how to go through this process. During this challenging time, it is important that we take good care of ourselves and each other.

Our knowledge of Covid-19 is continually developing, and in the coming months and years, we will gain a greater knowledge of the impact of coronavirus antibodies, and how long they provide us with protection against the disease.

And remember: if you are currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you need a diagnostic test rather than an antibody test!

Contact us for more information about how 90DayMeds.com can help you meet your prescription needs.

Works Cited:

1. Public Health Gateway – https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html

2. 90-Day Meds – https://www.90daymeds.com/blog/how-to-stay-healthy-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

3. Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963

4. 90-Day Meds – https://www.90daymeds.com/contact-us/