An antibody test is a blood test used to detect antibodies formed in the body against a pathogen as a defensive response by the immune system towards the foreign/unknown organism. Such tests provide information about infection and analyse the spread of the disease.
Antibodies are proteins formed in response to any foreign substance known as an antigen. These proteins help the immune system to identify, target and destroy the antigen.
The antibody test is a type of serology (sero means serum/blood and logy means study) testing. This test involves the blood sample test analysis and other body fluids for the presence of antibodies. The infectious disease specialist in Bangalore at Manipal Hospitals recommends the antibody test to determine the presence of past infections (viral and bacterial). The other conditions that may cause the formation of antibodies are mismatched blood transfusions and autoimmune diseases.
The immune system takes around 1-3 weeks to develop antibodies after the person contracts infection. The antibody test, if done for routine diagnostic testing, hence may give false-negative results.
In recent times, there is a lot of discussion around antibody tests for COVID 19. The government is conducting sample sero surveys by using COVID ANTIBODY TEST to understand Coronavirus, its infectivity, and its spread. Many other analyses can be derived from these sero surveys that are of strategic importance in our fight against COVID 19.
Antibody tests provide various benefits:
Detects past infection: COVID-19 may cause certain complications even after the infection phase in asymptomatic patients. It may result in multisystem failure or multiorgan dysfunction. Antibody tests are critical in determining the presence of past infections in high-risk patients. It helps to identify the convalescent Covid-19 patient, who has turned antigen negative.
Easy and quick: The test is easy and provides a rapid result. The antibody test is performed through blood tests.
Mass screening and prevalence: The antibody test may also help in mass screening and determine the prevalence rate in populations. It monitors the severity of infection in a particular area and allows the healthcare authorities to take preventive steps. It tracks the decrease and increase in the incidence and evaluates the case fatality rate.
Vaccine development: Antibody test also helps in the development of the vaccine. The vaccine has a prophylactic function through the formation of antibodies in the body. The antibody test provides valuable information about the antibody response to various antigens that may help in developing an effective vaccine.
Vaccine testing: The antibody tests also determine the level of immunity a person acquires after undergoing vaccination.
Plasma donation: Antibody test is performed in people to determine their eligibility for donating plasma. Plasma therapy works well when the patient gets the plasma with a high titre antibody during the early stage. The doctors determine high titre antibody plasma through an antibody test.
People may have an antibody test in the following circumstances:
Negative viral test: If you have the symptoms of infection but your viral test is negative. In such a situation, your doctor may advise you to undergo antibody testing.
Before surgery: If you are planning for surgery, your doctor may recommend an antibody test along with a diagnostic test.
Plasma donation: You may have an antibody test to determine the antibody in your blood if you wish to donate your plasma.
High-risk patients: If you are at high risk for developing infections, such as in immunocompromised people or the elderly and comes in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, the doctor may advise you to undergo an antibody test.
If you have any doubt about antibody test then consult Manipal Hospitals Bangalore, one of the best Infectious Disease Treatment Hospital in Bangalore, having specialists who are experienced in treating and diagnosing COVID-19 patients while following safety and precaution protocol.
The antibody test is vital in determining whether the person had been infected with COVID-19 in the past. It has application during plasma donation, vaccine development, monitoring the prevalence of infection, and safeguarding infection-prone individuals. Consult Manipal Hospitals to know more about antibody test in Bangalore.
What is an antibody test and antigen test?
In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the doctor recommends two types of tests. The antibody test determines if the person has any past infection with COVID-19. The other type, viral antigen testing, is done to diagnose a current infection. The antibody testing can work as diagnostic testing in rare circumstances, such as in the delay in viral antigen testing results.
How accurate are antibody tests?
The accuracy of antibody tests depends upon their sensitivity and specificity. If the test is not sensitive, it will not detect the antibodies and provide false-negative results. If the test is not specific, it will not differentiate COVID-19 antibodies and other antibodies. It may lead to a false-positive result. Most currently available COVID-19 antibody tests are highly specific, but the sensitivity varies.
What are my chances of re-infection in case of a positive antibody test?
It is considered that people with antibodies in their blood for a particular disease are immune to the disease. To what extent it is correct for COVID-19 infection is the subject of ongoing research. However, practice all the COVID-19 control measures, even if you have a positive antibody test.
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