I was pretty sick a few months ago, and it wasn’t the flu. Should I get an antibody test?

An antibody test detects the level of antibodies against Covid 19 in your blood. The antibody test is limited in that we don’t know how long the antibodies last in a person’s body. It also won’t show the antibodies if you currently have the infection, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

If you get a positive antibody test result it shows you likely had Covid 19. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune from getting reinfected, we simply don’t know how long the antibodies last, or how much immunity they provide. Depending on the type of experience you had and your test results, you may be retested, and perhaps asked to take part in a blood plasma donation, to help others in developing treatments for the disease.

If you get a negative antibody test result it means you likely did not have the virus in the past, although it could just be too soon. The antibodies can take typically between 1 to 3 weeks to appear. A negative test also doesn’t mean you don’t have it now. The antibody test does not test for current infections, only past ones. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it could mean you were recently exposed and still able to transmit the virus to others.

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