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Types of COVID-19 Test: Understanding Antibody Tests

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over the common diagnostic test options available to those looking to be tested for COVID-19. There are multiple such forms that are robust in nature, and these are just one side of the COVID-19 testing coin -- the other, which we'll go over today, is serology testing, known more commonly as antibody testing.

At Advanced Testing Services, we offer both diagnostic and serology forms of COVID-19 testing at sites throughout greater SLC and Ogden. There are many reasons why people might want to know whether they have active COVID antibodies in their system -- today's part two of our series will go over what COVID-19 antibody testing is, why it's commonly done, and some of the additional benefits associated with it.

Basics on COVID-19 Antibody Tests

Also known as serology testing, COVID-19 antibody testing is a form of testing that uses a blood sample to determine whether the person in question is developing antibodies against the virus. An antibody refers to a specific type of protein that is used by the immune system to combat foreign invaders. Antibodies are created when a person comes into contact with a virus or toxin, and in most cases this is a good thing -- it means that the body's natural defenses have recognized a potential threat.

Antibody tests will generally be carried out after someone has recovered from COVID-19, or if someone is wondering whether a minor sickness they had recently was actually limited symptoms of COVID. If the test shows the presence of antibodies, this is a strong indicator that you have had COVID-19 sometime in the recent past -- and also that you likely have some level of natural immunity (though more research is needed to determine exactly what this level of immunity is and how long it lasts).

Common Reasons for Antibody Tests

There are a few reasons why you might get an antibody test for COVID-19:

  • Determining if you had COVID: For those unsure whether a recent illness they had was actually COVID-19, antibody tests can be a good way to have this answered.

  • Recovery status: For those who know they were exposed to the virus, an antibody test may be used to determine if the person has recovered from it -- especially important for those with weakened immune systems or other conditions that would make them more susceptible to the side effects of COVID-19.

  • Certain public entry: While most private companies or event locations that are screening for COVID safety lean toward vaccine intake as their primary method, some also include the presence of COVID antibodies as an effective form of immunity.

  • Donating plasma: Finally, those who have tested positive for antibodies in their system may be eligible to donate plasma -- this can be used to help treat others with severe cases of COVID-19, and it's a highly beneficial form of treatment.

For more on COVID-19 antibody tests and how they work, or to learn about any of our diagnostic or serology tests, speak to the staff at Advanced Testing Services today.

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