Our bodies are special and unique because they can develop a defense mechanism against certain diseases once they are affected. Antibodies are proteins that are developed by the body to fight diseases. Once developed, antibodies can stay in the body for a while or for good to fight the disease once again if it shows up in the future. Covid-19 is a deadly disease caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. A person may develop antibodies against coronavirus but may take days or weeks once a person is infected. Scientists have not yet established how long they can stay in the body once they develop.
It is also not easy to tell whether a person has developed antibodies against Covid-19 unless somebody’s testing is done. In this post, we will discuss how antibody testing is performed and why. Read along for more insights.
What is Antibody Testing?
Two years have passed since the first case of Covid-19 infection was announced. Since then, millions of people have been affected, and millions more have succumbed to its complications. Although tests were developed to identify infected persons, not all tests are approved by the FDA. Besides testing for Covid-19, you can always undergo antibody testing to establish whether you have developed antibodies against the virus. Antibody testing is commonly done to establish if a coronavirus infected someone in the past and if they developed antibodies against the virus in the blood.
Covid-19 antibody testing and Covid-19 testing are different. Covid-19 testing establishes whether a person is currently suffering from COVID-19. Afterward, antibody testing is performed to confirm whether a person has earlier contracted the disease and if he or she developed antibodies to combat the virus. So, how do doctors perform antibody testing?
How to perform antibody testing
- You can get a doctor to perform the test, or you can do it on your own at home.
- You will receive a testing kit via post if you choose to do it yourself. Also receive instructions on how to go about it.
- After going through the instructions and you are ready to take the test, the first step is to draw a sample of blood using a lancet device to prick your finger.
- You can get enough blood samples by squeezing them into a tube.
- If you are not comfortable doing the test alone, you can ask anyone to assist you if you have not yet self-isolated.
- After finishing the test, you need to send the blood sample via Royal Mail priority postbox and wait for results.
How does antibody testing work?
The technician will take the sample of blood collected and take it to the lab to carry out a few tests to determine whether the patient has developed antibodies against Covid-19. First, he will test the blood to find out the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Afterward, antibody testing will be necessary to detect antibodies in the blood. Two types of antibodies are available right now: IgM antibodies and IgG antibodies. IgM antibodies are those that develop in the early stages of the infection. IgG antibodies usually occur weeks after Covid-19 infection.
Most of the patients who contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus develop IgG antibodies. This usually happens about 2 weeks after infection. The person will start showing developing symptoms during this time. Antibodies normally stay in the body once they have developed in the blood. However, scientists are not yet sure how long antibodies for the new coronavirus stay in the body once they occur.
If you think that you have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is no need to panic. You first need to self-isolate yourself and contact your primary health provider. You will then receive an antibody testing kit via mail so that you can conduct a test to establish whether you have developed antibodies against the virus. With proper PPE gear, your primary care doctor can also perform both the Covid-19 test and the antibody test.