Antibody Testing for COVID

There has been a lot in the public media about antibody testing.  Unfortunately, this is a “lot of sizzle and very little steak”.  

Currently, antibody testing for COVID has little known significance or practical application.  Not enough is known.  We want to bring you up to date on the known science to help you deal with misunderstanding propagated by the uninformed.

In a normal healthy individual who has contracted COVID, the immune system recognizes the viral molecules as “non-self” and starts making antibodies against them even before you get sick from it.  These antibodies become detectable at about the second week of the illness.  The patient is still contagious or at least disseminating viruses into the environment at this time.  Hence, finding antibodies in the blood DOES NOT tell you you can’t get anyone else sick.  It only indicates your body is functioning normally.  

We DON’T know if the development of antibodies protects you from re-infection.  We don’t know when you stop putting out viruses so that you are no longer contagious.  We don’t know how high the antibody level has to be to make you immune and we don’t know if this is durable, like chickenpox or polio, or if it is short term, like influenza.  The use of pooled antibodies obtained from recovered COVID patients to treat the critically ill is experimental and still fraught with all sorts of nagging questions.  

The University of Nebraska has recently announced a study of this using Firemen as their subject group.  We applaud their use of scientific study to answer these important questions if their study is designed to do this.  Until we know these answers, we recommend you consider the antibody question an interesting one but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it is useful.

Our understanding of this disease is still evolving rapidly, so stay tuned…..


Dr. Darst. 

Dr Don Darst

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Many Benefits of Telemedicine

In light of the current global health crisis, the need for telemedicine has never been greater. Here are some of the many advantages and benefits of telemedicine, and how it can provide the medical care you need while in the comfort and safety of your own

Family Medicine and COVID-19: What You Should Know

Your concerns and health needs don’t stop for anything, even a pandemic. That’s why we’re taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission but still continuing to offer medical care. Here’s what you need to know.

Get a Jump Start on Managing Spring Allergies

Congestion, headaches, runny noses, and itchy eyes are all part of allergy season, but they can be avoided. A proper treatment plan can help you get the jump on allergies before they jump on you.

Could You Be Prediabetic and Not Know It?

Prediabetes is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes; however, most people don’t realize they’re suffering from prediabetes until it’s too late. The good news is the development of the disease can be stopped if you have a heads-up. Learn more here.