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What antibody testing can and can’t tell you

What antibody testing can and can’t tell you

Many people have questions surrounding testing for COVID-19, especially a type of test called an antibody test.

Antibody tests, also known as serology tests, detect antibodies in the blood. Antibodies indicate that you may have had a viral infection, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again (immunity). A blood sample is taken from your arm to perform the test.

Probably the most important thing to know is that an antibody test can’t tell if you currently have COVID-19, and can’t determine if you can spread the virus to other people. And, there just isn’t enough medical evidence yet to tell if people who have developed antibodies to COVID-19 are protected against infection in the future.

So, why would anyone want to have an antibody test?

A COVID-19 antibody test may help identify if you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, and if so, whether or not your body has developed antibodies. If you were never diagnosed with COVID-19, the antibody test can help determine if you may have been previously infected with the virus. If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, this test can check whether or not your body has produced antibodies.

Whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19 on a viral or an antibody test, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others by watching your distance (stay at least 6 feet from people not in your household), wearing masks, washing your hands frequently and staying home if you are sick. We do not know how much protection (immunity) antibodies to the virus might provide against getting infected again. Please follow up with your health care provider for any questions you may have.

Again, we just don’t know yet if having antibodies protects you from getting COVID-19 again. You should also make sure the test is authorized by the FDA, and discuss any test results with your healthcare provider. They can help you discuss what the results mean, and how that impacts your health and risk factors for yourself and your family.

COVID-19 antibody testing in Gillette

COVID-19 antibody testing is available at Wellness in the Fourth Street Building at 1405 W. Fourth Street (two blocks west of Campbell County Memorial Hospital) in Gillette, Wyoming. Testing is available by appointment only every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6 am-noon; no walk-ins available at this time. Call 307.688.8051 to schedule. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/c19a.