Covid-19 Antibody Testing

April 29, 2020




Do you need a doctor’s order?

No you don’t. However, for insurance to be billed you might, so this still needs to be discussed with the lab itself.

 Quest Direct on line purchase of the test.

What is the Cost?


Does it assure me of immunity?

            The not so great news, thus far, is that we can’t conclude the antibodies equal immunity.  

*While the role of antibodies in preventing COVID-19 disease has yet to be established, antibody testing for other respiratory illnesses (SARS, flu) provides insight into immunity to future diseases.

Note: This test can sometimes detect antibodies from other coronaviruses, which can cause a false positive result if you have been previously diagnosed with or exposed to other types of coronaviruses. Additionally, if you test too soon, your body may not have produced enough IgG antibodies to be detected by the test yet, which can lead to a false negative result. 

At this time, antibody testing is mainly used in studies to determine how much of the population has been exposed to COVID-19. There is not enough evidence at this time to suggest that people who have IgG antibodies are protected against future COVID-19 infection. Positive or negative antibody tests do not rule out the possibility of COVID-19 infection. Results also do not provide any information on whether you can spread the virus to others.

It’s worth mentioning that different antibodies have different functions, and most antibody tests cannot discriminate between those that may be able to bind to the virus, but aren’t able to prevent infection the way so-called neutralizing antibodies can.

“These tests are just looking for the presence of antibodies that are able to recognize SARS-CoV-2,” said Lisa Gralinski, a virologist who studies human coronaviruses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They’re not telling us anything about the quality of those antibodies, so we don’t know if they’re neutralizing.”

By Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Health Educator & PR/Media Liaison

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