What is a semi-quantitative COVID-19 antibody test?
The COVID-19 test checks for antibodies to COVID-19. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or been vaccinated, your body produces antibodies as part of your immune response. This COVID-19 antibody test provides a numerical value that indicates whether or not you may have antibodies to COVID-19.
Who should get this COVID-19 antibody test?
This COVID-19 test might be right for you if you:
- Have previously tested positive for COVID-19 infection and want to know if you have detectable antibodies.
- Have never been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to know if you have been previously exposed to the virus.
If you have been previously diagnosed or suspect you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you should wait to get an antibody test until it has been at least 10 days after your symptoms started or after testing positive, you have not had a fever or felt feverish for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication, and any symptoms have improved. Current research shows that it may be best to get antibody testing 3 to 4 weeks after symptom onset or known exposure to COVID-19 to lower the chance of receiving a false positive or false negative result. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information about whether or not you should get tested.
Who should not get a COVID-19 antibody test?
The COVID-19 test may not be right for you if you:
- Are feeling sick or have had a fever within the last 3 days.
- Are trying to diagnose COVID-19
- Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 less than 10 days ago.
- Were directly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the past 14 days.
- Have a condition that weakens your immune system.
What will a COVID-19 antibody test tell me?
The COVID-19 antibody test will show whether or not you have developed antibodies to COVID-19 after exposure or vaccination. This COVID-19 test cannot tell you if you have an active infection. If you suspect you have COVID-19, follow up with your healthcare provider about getting a COVID-19 PCR test. This test should not be used to determine the level of immunity you have. You should contact your healthcare provider for additional guidance on how to interpret your COVID-19 antibody test results. Regardless of your blood test results, it is important to continue to follow public health recommendations, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks and face coverings, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine.
Are there any limitations to COVID-19 antibody tests?
False negative results can sometimes occur. This can happen if you get a COVID-19 antibody test too soon after being exposed or vaccinated and your body has not yet made enough antibodies to be detected by the test. Additionally, some individuals, such as those with weakened immune systems due to a medical condition or certain medications, may not develop detectable levels of antibodies after exposure or vaccination. False positive results can also occur. This can happen if the test detects antibodies from other coronaviruses you may have been exposed to, like the virus that causes the common cold. If you are concerned about your results, it is important to follow up with a healthcare provider, who can evaluate your medical history.
What guidance does the FDA provide regarding COVID-19 antibody testing?
COVID-19 antibody testing can play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. It can help identify individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have developed an immune response. Using antibody tests and clinical follow-up can also provide more information on immunity against COVID-19 for research and medical developments for the virus. Having antibodies usually gives immunity from further infection. However, there is not enough evidence at this time to suggest that people who have these antibodies are protected against future COVID-19 infection. Experience with other viruses suggests that individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies may be able to resume work and other daily activities in society, as long as they are recovered and not currently infected with the virus
How do I prepare for this COVID-19 blood test?
You do not need to do anything to prepare for this COVID-19 test. You do not need to fast or stop taking any medications before testing.
What type of specimen will I submit?
This COVID-19 Antibody Test is a blood test.
Do I need to fast to take this test?
Fasting is not necessary.
How long does it take to get test results?
It typically takes 4 business days or less.