Antibody tests play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 by assessing the levels of immune response in populations and individuals. Antibody blood testing can help healthcare professionals and public authorities make decisions about people returning to work, and easing social distancing and shelter-in-place measures.
Individually, test results may help identify if you were previously exposed to the virus and, if exposed, can check whether or not your body has produced antibodies. Currently, the FDA supports antibody testing with the following important points:
- Antibody tests can play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19
- Testing can help identify who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection, and potentially developed an immune response
- Right now, it is unclear whether these individuals may be less susceptible to infection, but in the future, broad use of antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide more information on this point
The CDC and healthcare experts recommend discussing your test results and whether to return to work with your healthcare provider and employer.
- If you were never diagnosed with COVID-19, this test can help determine if you may have been previously exposed to the virus.
- If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, this test can check whether or not your body has produced antibodies.
As stated by the FDA, results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Negative results do not rule out acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains.