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An antibody test (also called a serology test) looks for antibodies in the blood. These are proteins that your immune system makes, usually after you're exposed to germs like viruses or bacteria or after you get a vaccine. Antibodies work to fight illness.
A COVID-19 antibody test looks for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. If you test positive for these antibodies, it could mean that you already had COVID-19. If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not yet known how this will affect the antibody test results.
Most people don’t need this test. Antibody testing is mostly used to help track the virus, and the test is not commonly done in Alberta. These test results still mean that everyone must keep following all public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
This test can be used to diagnose a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. This test is not useful for finding out if you have COVID-19 now because it can take weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to show up on the test. Other testing that directly detects the virus, like the COVID-19 viral test (or nucleic acid test) is used to diagnose new COVID-19 infections.
Antibody testing is useful because:
You don't need to do anything to prepare for this test. But be sure to follow any instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
This is a blood test. A health professional will use a needle to take a sample of blood from your arm.
The result is either positive or negative.
A positive result means antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were found. You probably already had COVID-19. But:
A negative result means that these antibodies were not found. You probably haven't had COVID-19. But:
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Adaptation Date: 5/7/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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