The timing for an antibody test for COVID-19 is a critical step in detecting the infection in patients. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended using antibody tests for surveillance with real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for diagnosis. It comes in the light of the rapid testing kits returning unreliable results when used to detect antibodies to the novel Coronavirus. An antibody test for Covid-19 can help ascertain if a patient requires the Covid-19 vaccine.
Studies have shown that about 20% of all Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic, meaning that a large part of the population in India to have returned positive results won't know they had the virus.
However, there are some positive developments on this front, especially with antibody tests. This test requires a small sample of blood from the finger and can yield more extensive results that can help citizens understand their status with respect to the novel Coronavirus. With this, they can take the next steps based on the results of the antibody test.
What is an Antibody Test?
Antibodies are the properties in your blood that discover your body's defence against infections, like Covid-19. It is the same as getting a vaccine, for example, a flu shot that helps your system build immunity to a virus. An antibody test for Covid is also known as a serology testbecause antibodies are tested in serum of the patient.
The Antibody test does not check your system for the virus. Instead, it determines whether your body's immune system, which can be viewed as a natural defence against illness, has responded to the infection. The results can help medical professionals in recommending if the patient requires a Covid-19 vaccine.
What is the distinction between a Covid-19 Test and an Antibody Test?
A diagnostic test administered for detecting Covid-19 will look for the presence of the active virus in the patient's body. results are limited in their scope as all they can reveal is if the patient has the virus in real-time.
Whereas, an antibody test givesinformativeresults as it illustrates if the patient had the virus at some point in the past
How does Antibody Testing work?
A patient might be suffering from SARS-Cov-2 without knowing about it. Multiple studies have shown that patients who have COVID-19 don't always exhibit symptoms. Medical Professionals believe that antibody tests are the most effective way of finding out a patient's Covid-19 history. The results can help the patient understand their status better and make an informed decision.
What is the procedure for an Antibody test?
The patient will be required to give a blood sample. Next, the medical professionals will evaluate two kinds of antibodies to SARS-COV-2.
IgM antibodies - these occur early in an infection.
IgG antibodies- these are more likely to occur after the patient has recovered.
It can take up to four weeks to develop IgM antibodies in the system. That said, there is a need for more data to understand the duration for this concerning SARS-CoV-2.
Please note that the antibody tests available at the moment cannot determine if you are immune to COVID-19. It is because doctors can’t ascertain how long these antibodies protect the patient from Covid-19.
Covid-19 vaccine update 2021 for India
Vaccine Update 2021: According to analysis of publicly available production deals, India has estimated to produce the second highest number of Covid-19 vaccines after the US.
As we wait for the vaccine to roll out and reach the general public, there is still a lot that we need to be careful about. If you feel that at any point of time, you may have been exposed to Covid, ensure that you get a test done from a reputed lab like Pathkind Labs. Till you get the vaccine, follow all safety norms and stay safe!