This test helps to detect IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to help identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. This test is recommended in individuals at least 10 days post symptom onset or following exposure to individuals with confirmed COVID-19.
Antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again (immunity). Antibodies are disease specific. For example, measles antibodies will protect you from getting measles if you are exposed to it again, but they won’t protect you from getting mumps if you are exposed to mumps.
CDC does not know if the antibodies that result from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide someone with protection (immunity) from getting infected again. If antibodies do provide immunity, it is unknown how much antibody is protective or how long protection might last. CDC scientists are currently conducting studies to answer these questions.
Except in instances in which viral testing is delayed, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. An antibody test may not show if you have a current COVID-19 infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. It is currently unsure how “far back” this test can track antibodies in those who think they may of had it previously as tests and studies are still being done. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose.
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