At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing was at the forefront of the minds of health care workers and governments alike. While testing may seem straightforward, many different tests, including PCR tests and antibody tests, can be used to determine whether COVID-19 is or has been present.
What exactly is antibody testing?
Antibody Testing: The Basics
Antibody tests are used to determine the likelihood of having had the COVID-19 virus previously. Unlike standard tests, which measure the presence of an active or current infection, these diagnostic tests are instead used to identify a past infection. To fully understand the process of these COVID-19 tests, you must first have a basic understanding of antibodies and the role they have played in the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Are Antibodies?
You may be most familiar with the word “antibody” when it is used in conjunction with “antibiotics.” However, antibodies are actually agents deployed by the body to target disease and illness brought about by foreign invaders. Antibodies are small proteins used to identify invaders.
Antibodies are sent to attach to the virus, bacteria, or entity in question (a virus, for instance), which allows the body to complete a process called phagocytosis, or the destruction of a harmful or (perceived) foreign entity.
What Do Antibody Tests Measure?
Antibody tests measure the presence of antibodies in your blood. When you have been infected by a virus, bacteria, or another harmful entity, your body produces antibodies specific to that entity. If you have antibodies in your blood, test results can determine the type of infection present in the body–including a COVID-19 infection. Rapid tests may be necessary or useful for specific tasks and situations.
3 Reasons to Get a Rapid Antibody Test
It may seem pertinent to focus entirely on current infections, but there are many reasons to seek out an antibody test in the wake of COVID-19. Work requirements, community requirements, and coronavirus contact can all necessitate a rapid antibody test.
Your workplace may request that you show you are not currently infected with COVID-19 or that you have been infected with the virus in the past. Some workplaces suggest antibody tests following a COVID-19 exposure, while others might request these tests following your own infection. Antibody tests can be useful to help you get back to work more quickly or to put your coworkers’ or supervisors’ minds at ease.
The exact requirements for gathering and hosting events vary from city to city, county to county, and state to state. Antibody testing can be a useful way to make sure you can attend a specific event or engage in a particular pastime.
Private concert venues, restaurants, and more might encourage you to demonstrate that you are not currently infected with the virus or that you have successfully recovered from the virus in the past.
Antibody testing can also be useful if you have recently come into contact with COVID-19. Antibody tests can give you some peace of mind following contact with the virus. A positive test can let you know that you have already successfully recovered from the virus, while a negative test can tell you that the virus has not been present in your body. Antibody tests can also be useful in that they can demonstrate to others that you have an immune response already in place, should you come into contact with the virus inadvertently.
Why to Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test
From work to community events, there are plenty of reasons to seek out a 15-minute rapid antibody test. Rapid tests allow you to receive your results in less than 24 hours after visiting the testing site and can give you (and your boss or event coordinator) more peace of mind as you go about getting back to work and engaging with your community.