Current Reasons to Apply COVID-19 Antibody Tests
COVID-19 antibody rapid tests in the current period of time
For the study of various infectious diseases, health professionals not only rely on the symptomatology presented by each patient, but also on more specific tests that would prove and give much more information about the patient’s condition. Indeed, one of these tests is the antibody test, also called serology.
Antibody tests make it possible to reveal the specific immune response against an infectious agent of each patient, using them not only for diagnostic purposes, but also for epidemiological studies. This test is based on the detection of antibodies (IgM, for acute stages, and IgG, for later stages) produced by the immune system in response to an infection, which are found in the serum of a blood sample.
With more than 140 million positive cases and more than 3 million deaths since its beginning, the COVID-19 pandemic is a clear example of the importance of this type of antibody-based diagnostic test. Now, with the administration of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, its importance becomes even more relevant.
Since the vaccine against this virus acts by presenting, in a controlled manner, an antigen capable of provoking the response of the person’s immune system for the production of specific antibodies, it is logical to say that not only people with active COVID-19 or those who have already had it possess antibodies against the virus, but also those who have been vaccinated.
Such presence of antibodies, recovered through antibody testing, would demonstrate whether or not a person is safe from contracting the disease, or at least from contracting it in such a way as to present only mild symptomatology, avoiding more severe complications and the risk of needing hospitalization.
Although it is not yet fully defined, and many studies and time are still needed to do so, the scientific community already has an idea of the period of immunity that both people who have suffered from the disease and those who have already had access to the vaccine may have.
However, studies have shown that patients who have overcome COVID-19 enjoy immunity for 3 to 6 months, with some cases extending up to 8 months. In relation to immunoglobulins, IgM (acute phase reactant) persists during almost the entire symptomatologic phase, gradually decreasing its levels after overcoming the clinical presentation. IgG (late phase reactant), on the other hand, appears weeks after the first symptoms, gradually increasing its levels and persisting during the rest of the conferred immunity.
Regarding the specific time of immunity produced by the administration of the vaccine, the answer to this question is still not entirely clear. What is known is that the researches that indicated an immunity of about 3 months after the administration of the vaccine have been left behind, now existing more updated studies that indicate an immunity of up to 1 year or more after the administration of a booster vaccine weeks after the first dose. Certainly, little by little, more will be known about this subject.
For this reason, the importance of antibody testing will not go unnoticed, as it continues to be a valid diagnostic tool for those persons, whether infected by the virus or vaccinated, who require a check for the presence of specific antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
And for those who still believe that these tests are difficult to perform, the truth is quite different. These COVID-19 tests are extremely fast and easy to do, being no more complicated than a blood sugar test, allowing you to have the results in just a few minutes. In addition, nowadays these tests can be done in the comfort of your own home or office without the need to go to private laboratories and expose yourself not only to the virus, but also to expensive prices.