COVID19 Antibody Testing
COVID-19 Antibody tests your blood for antibodies, which potentially means you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Why Should I Choose a COVID-19 Antibody Testing or Serology Test?
Antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again (immunity). Antibodies are disease-specific. For example, measles antibodies will protect you from getting measles if you are exposed to it again, but they won’t protect you from getting mumps if you are exposed to mumps.
COVID-19 antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection, except in instances in which viral testing is delayed. An antibody test may not show if you have a current COVID-19 infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies.
Is this Test Safe for Children?
Yes, however we don’t know if having antibodies means a child is protected against future illness. So while it might be interesting to know if your child has been exposed to COVID-19, no one can say that prior exposure protects against future illness.
What do your COVID-19 Antibody Test Results Mean?
If you test positive
- A positive test result shows you may have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance that a positive result means you have antibodies from an infection with a different virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses). Note: Other coronaviruses cannot produce a positive result on a viral test for SARS-CoV-2.
- Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 may provide protection from getting infected with the virus again. But even if it does, we do not know how much protection the antibodies may provide or how long this protection may last. Confirmed and suspected cases of reinfection have been reported, but remain rare.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about your test result and the type of test you took to understand what your result means. Your provider may suggest you take a second type of antibody test to see if the first test was accurate.
- You should continue to protect yourself and others since you could get infected with the virus again.
- If you work in a job where you wear personal protective equipment (PPE), continue wearing PPE.
- You may test positive for antibodies even if you have never had symptoms of COVID-19. This can happen if you had an infection without symptoms, which is called asymptomatic infection.
If you test negative
- You may not have ever had COVID-19. Talk with your healthcare provider about your test result and the type of test you took to understand what your result means.
- You could have a current infection or have been recently infected.
- The test may be negative because it typically takes 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. It’s possible you could still get sick if you have been exposed to the virus recently. This means you could still spread the virus.
- Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people who are infected may not ever develop antibodies.
If you get symptoms after the antibody test, you might need another test called a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose.
Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, the results do not confirm whether you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.
Learn more about using antibody tests to look for past infections.
What is COVID19?
- COVID19 is a respiratory disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV2 which was first identified in Wuhan, China in 2019
- It has the potential to cause severe respiratory symptoms and pneumonia in some individuals
How is COVID19 (SARS-CoV2) spread?
- Droplets - The most common method of spread is through respiratory droplets through talking, coughing, or sneezing
- Closes Personal Contact - Touching or shaking hands or similar contact with a person who is either symptomatic or an asymptomatic carrier
- Surface Contact - Although less likely, touching surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Who is at Risk?
- Travelers to areas that are endemic with the virus
- Everyone in the US currently
Symptoms of COVID19 (SARS-CoV2)
This is not an exhaustive list
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea or Vomiting or Diarrhea