From stay-at-home orders to social distancing, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the way of life across the country. With millions of confirmed cases around the world, it is likely that you or someone you have been in contact with may have been infected. If you believe you’ve been infected or are experiencing some of the symptoms, then you should seek medical attention.
With limited COVID-19 testing available, those without serious symptoms will be instructed to complete a 14-day quarantine to limit the spread of the virus. Within those 14 days, the body begins to develop antibodies (IgG and IgM) that fight off the virus. Found naturally in the bloodstream, these antibodies can indicate if you have been infected with COVID-19, even if you did not display symptoms of the virus.
Testing to see if your body has developed antibodies can be done with a simple finger stick and a few drops of blood. The blood is analyzed in our laboratory and results can be had within minutes.
If it has been at least 7 days since the start of your symptoms, then you can be tested. If you have not had any symptoms, but may have been in contact with someone who was potentially exposed, this can be another reason to get tested. From 25 to 50 percent of people who become infected may never develop symptoms*1, and some may become only mildly ill. Others may have known they were sick, but could not get tested. Testing too early may not give accurate results as your body may not have had enough time to develop these antibodies.
As with any laboratory test, there is a chance that the results are not accurate (false positives or false negatives). We are evaluating many of the antibody test kits allowed under the FDA under the Emergency Utilization Authorization, and reviewing their testing methodology and performance characteristics. We are running an internal study comparing results from the different tests. Please also take a look at this study: https://covidtestingproject.org/
It is important to note that this COVID-19 Antibody Test is not intended to serve as an official diagnosis of COVID-19 or inform infection status, but to identify those who have recovered from COVID-19 and potentially provide important information about how widespread and contagious this disease actually is. A major question remains unanswered: whether the antibodies confer lasting immunity. The presence of antibodies can reduce the severity of future infections, but doesn’t necessarily prevent them. The best guess comes from looking at the new coronavirus’s cousins: common cold coronaviruses, and the more dangerous ones that caused SARS and MERS. Immunity to these viruses persists anywhere from one to eight years. Recent studies from recovered COVIID-19 patients in China demonstrate up to a third of patients demonstrate unexpectedly low levels of antibodies*2. Further studies will be needed to determine what this means for herd immunity, and resistance to the disease among the general population to stop its spread. Here is a link to the WHO statement on antibodies and immunity
Here is a link to a video that has a good explanation about IgM and IgG detection, timelines, and what they mean.
We are now offering this test at Hudson Medical in very limited quantities for our patients. Please click the button below for more information.
*1: Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/health/coronavirus-asymptomatic-transmission.html
*2: Source: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3078840/coronavirus-low-antibody-levels-raise-questions-about
Make wellness a part of your health care routine by booking your appointment now. Book Now Same day appointments and procedures available.