Are you wondering how a COVID antibody test differs from a regular diagnostic test? Perhaps you’re considering taking an antibody test yourself.
No matter the reason you want to know the difference, we’ve covered all the important information that you need to know below.
What is the Purpose of Antibody Testing and Why is it Important?
Antibody testing, also known as serology testing, is usually conducted after full recovery from COVID-19. Depending on the availability of tests, eligibility may vary.
By drawing blood from an arm vein or by pricking a finger, a health care professional takes a sample of blood. Your sample is then tested to determine if you’ve developed antibodies against the virus.
Antibodies are proteins that the immune system produces in order to eliminate viruses. The presence of antibodies indicates that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 at some point in the past. Also, it could be a sign that you possess some immunity.
It’s unclear, however, whether antibodies make you more resistant to re-infection by COVID-19. As yet, neither the level of immunity nor the duration of immunity has been determined. There will eventually be more data revealed by ongoing studies.
Benefits Of Accurate Antibody Testing
- After recovering from COVID-19, healthy people may be eligible to donate plasma. Plasma from this patient could be used to treat other patients with severe diseases and boost their immune systems.
- To prevent the spread of the virus, contact can be traced and self-isolation or quarantine can be started sooner.
- Provides clues on who might have immunity, though to what extent and for how long is not yet known
How can I Get an Antibody Test?
Some people may be eligible for a free antibody test provided by the NHS in the UK. However, if you are not eligible, you will likely have to pay for a private test that is carried out by a medical company.
Many companies, including Medicspot, offers various types of coronavirus and antibody tests to help you determine whether you have built immunity after contracting COVID-19.
Does an Antibody Test Show Whether you Have Covid?
No, an antibody test is used to only determine whether your body has created the antibodies after having coronavirus.
If you want to test for coronavirus, you will either need a PCR test which is provided free of charge in the UK, or you can pay for a private test as mentioned above.
No matter what, if you suspect that you may have coronavirus, it is important to follow the advice regarding self-isolation until you receive your result.
Who can Get an Antibody Test?
Under current circumstances, only certain people are able to get coronavirus antibody tests. This includes those who work in hospitals or in similar roles such as caregiving.
However, more and more people are now eligible to take the antibody tests. In fact, you may be able to register for an at-home antibody test depending on your job and where you reside in the UK.
For people who are part of an antibody research study or survey, you can obtain a test and register if you participate in any of the following:
- COVID-19 antibody survey of education staff (CASS)
- Humoral Immune Correlates of COVID-19 (HICC) consortium study
- Sarscov2 Immunity & Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) study
- Zoe COVID-19 symptom study
- Office for National Statistics (ONS) COVID-19 infection survey
- Enhanced surveillance of COVID-19 in Scotland (ESOCIS)
You can start the registration process for an antibody test by heading over the GOV website and filling in your credentials to see if you are eligible.