COVID-19 Antibody Test - How it Works and Who Should Get Tested

 When you get an infection, usually you have a good immune response to the infection to fight it off, and you can measure that immune response by doing a blood test and measuring the antibody response. 

And that helps to know if you've been exposed, whether you've been sick or not because we know that many infections, people are asymptomatic. So these antibody tests are now available. The problem, the challenge with these antibody tests is that their accuracy has not been pinned down very well, so we're not exactly sure how accurate they are, and on an individual level, it may not make any difference because measuring the antibodies will not tell you if you're protected or not.

 So maybe you were infected or you weren't, but we don't know if that means you're not gonna get reinfected in the next few weeks or months or years, we just don't have that information. (mellow music) For people who are just curious about it, it just doesn't have any meaning. Everybody thinks that they had a little tickle in their nose and that, you know, a few months ago, and that must have been it. You know, and what we're finding is about 4 to 5% of people in our area have been infected in the past, so it's a very small percentage. 

And having that antibody test, even if it's positive, does not prove that you're invulnerable or that you're immune to getting infected. It doesn't mean you can stop wearing a mask or that you're free to go around and do high-risk activities. All it would suggest is that you've had an infection, but we don't know if you're protected because you've had an infection. (mellow music) Where these antibody tests fit in well are for studies, for population studies, to see what percent of a population maybe have been exposed and infected, so it's useful for that kind of a scientific study. 

They're also useful in very specific circumstances so that we know that children may experience a specific syndrome after being exposed to coronavirus, but this occurs three to four weeks later after infection where the nasal swab test may not be positive, but the antibody test might be useful. And then the third place where these antibody tests are useful is that blood banks are screening donors to see if they have antibodies because there's some suggestion that perhaps convalescent plasma, getting the plasma of people who already have been infected, by infusing that into acutely ill people, it may help them. This is being studied, it's not proven yet, but that's something that being actively studied. So those are the main reasons to get an antibody test. (mellow music) 
COVID-19 Antibody Test - How it Works and Who Should Get Tested COVID-19 Antibody Test - How it Works and Who Should Get Tested Reviewed by Reaz blog on July 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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