The antibody test is a quick blood test that tells patients if they have ever been infected with the disease by looking for antibodies in the patients’ blood. Antibodies are created when the body fights an infection, including COVID-19. This same process occurs when you get a vaccine such as a flu shot. The Coronavirus antibody test checks for these antibodies, instead of the disease itself, to see if the body has responded to the infection.
Antibody tests are being developed rapidly and their full implications still aren’t known, but they are going to prove very helpful for scientists to learn how common COVID-19 is, how it affects people, and what happens when people get exposed to it again after being infected. At this time, experts are uncertain whether a positive antibody test confers immunity to SARS COV-2 and if so, how long that immunity will last. Based on data reviewed during the 2003 SARS outbreak, patients with antibodies for SARS-CoV were observed to have immunity for an average of 2 years.