Many people have questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) antibodies and
antibody testing. I've answered some common questions doctors are getting
about COVID-19 antibodies and getting tested for antibodies. Have a question? Ask it in the comments section.
Q. What is COVID-19 antibody testing?
The antibody test, also known as serology test, detects the antibodies or proteins that your body produced against the virus as part of the immune response, which are critical to fight the infection.
Q. If I tested positive for COVID-19, why would I get the antibody test?
When I recover doesn't that make me immune to getting it again? If you had previously tested positive for COVID-19, you don’t necessarily have to get the antibody test, at least there are no guidelines suggesting doing so at this
time. If you do get the antibody test and you are positive, we still cannot be
certain that you are immune from being re-infected. We are unsure about how much immunity these antibodies give us as we are still in the process of learning more about COVID-19.
Q. If you test positive for COVID antibodies, how often should you get retested to make sure you still have the antibodies and that the testing was accurate?
Currently, there is no data or guidelines as to suggest how often one should be retested for antibodies or that being positive to antibodies itself offers immunity necessarily or its duration of protection.
Q. Is social distancing needed if I have antibodies?
Social distancing, face masking and washing your hands are absolutely essential at this time even if you are detected to have antibodies. When the antibody test is positive, there is a likelihood that you have antibodies against COVID-19. However, these antibody detection tests are not specific to COVID-19, as the test could also be positive if you had antibodies from infection due to other coronaviruses.
Q. How long do COVID-19 antibodies last?
At this time, we don’t know how long these antibodies last and how much
protection they offer.
Q. Can children get the antibody test?
Children can get the antibody test, but families have to be more cautious about the accuracy and interpretation of these tests at this time. The antibody tests are still evolving, and we can't be 100 percent sure that these antibodies are specific to COVID-19. Parents should not view their child's positive antibody test as a "get out of jail free card" to come into close contact with anyone and everyone in the neighborhood.