The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting millions globally. The active infection is tested by undergoing an oral and nasal swab for RT-PCR, looking for the COVID antigen.
An antibody is a protein that is generated in the body in response to an infection. The COVID-19 antibody test looks for the presence of antibodies that might have formed in the body in response to an infection.
Having an antibody means that you have immunity against an infection. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies in a test means that you have developed immunity to the infection.
There are 2 types of antibodies that are formed in the body in response to an infection.
IgM antibodies are those which are generated early in an infection. When they are present, it indicates that there is either an active infection, or there was a recent infection.
IgG antibodies are generated later on, usually a few weeks (around 3 weeks) after a COVID-19 infection. These antibodies indicate the presence of immunity against the virus that has built up due to exposure to the virus.
If you have both IgM and IgG antibodies in your blood, that means that you have had a recent infection (or even an active infection), and you are in the process of developing immunity to it.
Getting The COVID-19 Antibody Test
A COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test. Only 2 ml of blood is needed, and the results are available within 24 hours. The test is approved by the ICMR.
It is currently conducted by Thyrocare labs in India, and you can book a test here if you wish to.
Upon entering your details, you will be contacted by Thyrocare to confirm the test.
Interpreting Your Results
IgG antibodies are seen around 21 days or more after you have had an infection. If your antibody test for IgG is absent, it could mean one of 2 things –
- You have not been exposed to the virus
- You have been exposed to the virus but it is still in the early stages and antibodies have not developed yet.
IgM antibodies are usually seen within 7 to 14 days after an infection starts. If you have IgM antibodies, then you are likely still infected or beginning to recover.
If you have an active infection, or are worried that you have COVID-19 infection, then do not get an antibody test done. It does not help.
In such a situation, get an RT-PCR test done. The Aarogya Setu app by the Government of India lists all test centres that are close to your residence.
Also remember that these antibodies may only last for 3 months or so in the body. It is still not clear whether infection with COVID-19 confers immunity lifelong. From what is understood, if you have an infection and have antibodies, you will be protected from re-infection for an unknown period of time.
Who Should Get Tested?
Anyone can get tested if they wish to. Fortunately, it is not very expensive, and we are also offering a discount for our customers as well.