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Antibody Test for COVID-19

Overview

An antibody test looks for antibodies in the blood. These are proteins that your immune system makes, usually after you're exposed to germs like viruses or bacteria or after you get a vaccine. Antibodies work to fight illness.

A COVID-19 antibody test looks for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. If you test positive for these antibodies, it could mean that you already had COVID-19.

This test can be used to diagnose a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Many people who get COVID-19 never have symptoms or have only mild ones. Without antibody testing, these people might never know that they already had the virus.

Antibody testing is important because:

  • It could show who has already had COVID-19. These people might be safe to go back to work or school or to travel.
  • It could show who hasn't had the infection. These people are still at risk. They need to keep taking steps to avoid the virus.
  • It helps experts who are tracking COVID-19 learn more about the virus and how it spreads.

This is a blood test. A health professional may prick your finger or use a needle to take a sample of blood from your arm.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: September 15, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine

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