COVID-19 Antibody Testing FAQ's

What is COVID antibody testing?

“Antibody or serology tests look for antibodies in your blood that fight the virus that causes COVID-19.  Antibodies are proteins created by your immune system that help you fight off infections. They are made after you have been infected or have been vaccinated against an infection.  Vaccination is a safe, effective way to teach your body to create antibodies.”  The duration of time antibodies last varies from person to person, and this affects how long protection from illness lasts. 

Which antibodies can be tested?

Testing typically evaluates 2 antibodies: 1. Nucleocapsid (N) protein (antibodies present from a previous COVID-19 infection) and 2. Spike (S) protein (antibodies present from vaccination). 

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection with COVID-19. Testing for current infection is done with either rapid antigen or PCR. Antibody testing has limitations and “whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19 antibodies using an antibody test, you still should take steps, including getting vaccinated, to protect yourself and others.”  

 Antibody testing for the N Protein

Antibody testing for the S Protein:

References: UpToDate. COVID-19: Diagnosis. Aug 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/antibody-testing-not-currently-recommended-assess-immunity-after-covid-19-vaccination-fda-safety, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

 

 

 

Author
PAA Advance Practice Providers Our PAA APP's include: Annie Croft, Pam Dietrich, Amber Mercer, Erin Moore, Nikki Nutter, and Emily Woodard

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