An antibody test, or a serology blood test, is a test that will identify the presence of antibodies in an individual’s blood. The presence of said antibodies will help indicate whether a person has been previously infected with COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2). A positive serology test result may be indicative of previous exposure to COVID-19 because your body will have produced antibodies against it.
While symptoms of COVID-19 may take up to 14 days to arise, around 91% of people develop antibodies to fight the virus within the first 8-13 days of infection. Although some individuals may be asymptomatic, antibodies will still be detected in the blood during a serology blood test. It is thought that the presence of antibodies might provide some defense against later infections, but data has not shown conclusive results thus far.
Antibody tests should not be confused with nasopharyngeal swab testing which determines if you are currently affected by COVID-19. The goal of antibody testing is to see if your body has built up antibodies from a past immune system response to COVID-19. If you are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consult your physician or local hospital for a diagnostic test.
If you have experienced any symptoms consistent to COVID-19 within the last few days, it is highly recommended that you do not enter the laboratory antibody testing site. Symptoms such as the following could indicate a COVID-19 infection: loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, dry cough, feeling weak or lethargic, lightheadedness or dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea, slurred speech, and/or seizures. Placing an order to receive an antibody test kit is still recommended, but you must wait the previously mentioned time frame to come in for collection.
Current information from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html