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COVID Antibody Testing


Antibody blood tests, also called antibody tests, check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19. To see if you have a current infection, you need a viral test, which checks respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose.

There are several labs offering Covid Antibody testing. The tests currently available can “cross react” with other coronaviruses, meaning that the result may be positive even if someone had not been exposed to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, preventive measures are still needed to protect yourself and others.

There are NO patient management decisions to be made with antibody testing right now even with a perfect test as there has been no information regarding whether a patient with antibody has protection from future disease and antibody testing is not part of any removal from isolation protocol. The most it will do is tell you that you may have been exposed.

Because the results of a Covid antibody test do not result in any changes in protective measures or treatment decisions, PHA does not currently recommend these antibody tests in our pediatric patients.

The exception are those children suspected of having the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), in whom antibody testing is recommended as well as consultation with specialists. In these cases, antibody testing will be done in the hospital setting.