Why Is COVID-19 Antibody Testing Important?
If the question, “Where can I find coronavirus testing near me?” has been on your mind lately, you’re not alone. We need routine testing to get the pandemic under control.
There are different types of COVID-19 testing. The first type tests for the presence of the virus in your system. The second kind tests for antibodies, which are proteins created by the immune system to help fight the virus. These proteins are specific to the viral strain the body has dealt with, and these antibody tests enable us to test for them. Researchers still need more information, however, to determine whether antibodies will protect a person from reinfection.
Checking for COVID-19: What Are the Limitations of the Viral Test?
If you suspect you may have the coronavirus, you should get tested as soon as possible. The viral test is a first step in determining whether you might present a risk to others.
Viral testing requires gathering a sufficient amount of viral particles with nasopharyngeal, nasal or throat swabs. The amount present in each patient can vary quite a bit. If the patient is newly infected, the virus may not have spread enough to trigger a positive result. According to an article from UC Davis Health, up to 20 percent of tests could present a false negative.
A false negative can create a dangerous scenario. You might think you’re safe to be around others when, in reality, you’re contagious. This is why antibody testing is so valuable. It provides an additional way to gather information about the virus.
Antibody Testing: COVID-19. How Does It Work?
What if you were sick a while ago, but were unable to access testing at the time? If you suspect you might have had the virus in the recent past, getting antibody testing for COVID-19 would be a good idea.
Antibody testing is quite accurate. It is a simple blood draw, and the current tests can determine whether the antibodies in your system are related to the COVID virus, with more than 99 percent specificity. In addition, antibody testing can help identify candidates for plasma donation. Most people develop antibodies between one and three weeks after the onset of symptoms. If you’re recovering from a respiratory illness you had a few weeks ago, were exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in a large group settings, now would be a good time to get tested.
Researchers are working hard to determine whether COVID-19 immunity is lasting. Information from previous coronavirus outbreaks and data from certain animal studies suggest that antibodies provide at least some protection. Research in this area will also help to determine how long the protection from a vaccine may last. If antibodies don’t provide complete protection, it’s possible they may at least reduce the severity of symptoms. This is one reason authorities are reminding people that they still need to wear masks and practice social distancing even if they’ve been vaccinated.
According to Stephen Russell, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Imanis Life Sciences, higher levels of neutralizing antibodies provide better protection against new infection. More severe symptoms of infection often lead to higher levels of neutralizing antibodies, while less severe symptoms may lead to lower or no measurable neutralizing antibody production.
The lack of solid information about antibodies may leave you questioning the value of this type of COVID-19 testing. There’s still much to learn, but antibody testing for COVID-19 is providing researchers with important data. This data helps public health officials learn more about how this virus is spreading within communities.
Urgent Care: Where Can I Find Coronavirus Testing Near Me?
At MD Now, we offer antibody testing for COVID-19 right when you need it. Visit one of our convenient locations to receive a test and medical evaluation. We’ll notify you of the results within a few days.
If you believe you might have an active case of COVID-19, our clinics are here to help. You can check in online to save time, but we gladly accept walk-in patients.
You can count on MD Now Urgent Care to be here for you during the pandemic and beyond. For more information, please contact us now.