Antibodies are immunoglobulin molecules which our immune system produces to fight against the antigens. Antigens are released into the body through bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and are the causative agents of various diseases in our body. So, in a way, these antigens trigger our body to produce antibodies as part of immune response. Since January 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit several countries across the globe, leading to devastation in terms of lost lives, lockdowns, and suffering economies due to businesses coming to a halt. Initially, the antibody testing process took a long time for the results. Eventually, rapid testing kits were introduced, which helped increase the number of tests and helped save many lives by giving the results in a few hours. This post discusses the need for antibody testing in this Covid-19 era.
Significance of Antibody Testing
Antibodies or immunoglobulins are basically protein structures which are formed in your body either through an immune response or a few days after the vaccination. They are tested to check if you had an infection in the recent past. In particular, they are not meant for testing present infections as they are formed a week or two after the infection, and hence would not yield the right results for current infections.
It is necessary to do this test in case you have come in contact with a Covid positive person or you yourself were positive till a few days ago. In either case, if you have antibodies present in your body, it means you may have developed immunity against Covid-19 to some extent.
Still, it is necessary to get vaccinated and safeguard yourself when outside your home. This is because nobody knows how long these antibodies will last and if they offer at least more than 90% immunity.
Much research is going on and we also need track of cured cases year after year to understand the presence and impact of antibodies because this disease is new for everyone including the scientific research and medical communities.
In case of Covid-19, RT-PCR testing is widely recommended as it identifies the immune response specifically for IgG and IgM antibodies significant in this disease. RT-PCR stands for Reverse Transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. This is necessary to check for present infections in case you want to travel or have any other commitment where you have to be in crowded areas or public places. However, RT-PCR is meant to detect present infections. Antigen tests are also used to detect present or existing infections.
While they are necessary to check if an individual is Covid positive, they work on real time basis. An antibody test, on the other hand, is a must to check if you are negative after the quarantine period which gives you an assurance if you are cured of the disease.
Over the last one year, Covid-19 cases have been on a rise, and for this the demand for antibody testing surged drastically. While it is absolutely necessary to take due precautions such as wearing masks and using a sanitizer, it is just as important to get yourself tested even in case of mild symptoms such as cold. If you need to do an antibody test for Covid-19, ensure you buy a kit from a reliable supplier and get it done from an authorized doctor in a lab. Medway OHS offers Covid-19 testing kits for antibody testing.