It’s A Rapid Finger Stick Test….

Antibodies are proteins which function as “soldiers” that our immune system produces to fight antigens (bad guys, germs) to which our bodies are exposed. Vaccines work because a part of the antigen is injected into the body, which tricks our immune system into thinking it is being invaded so it produces antibodies against that specific antigen without causing disease.

IgM antibodies demonstrate recent illness with the disease, while IgG antibodies demonstrate chronicity or recovery from the illness. Some antibodies, such as those against mono or measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, confer us with long-term immune protection. Other antibodies, such as strep, do not confer long-term immune protection. 

We DO NOT know at this time if antibodies against COVID19 provide long-term immunity. In other words, even if someone is positive for antibodies, they may still get COVID19 again. Research in this area is still ongoing.

The CDC does not recommend antibody testing to diagnose acute COVID19 infection. Only direct antigen or molecular tests are FDA approved for such purpose. However, antibody testing may have uses in some situations. 

Antibody testing can help us understand the transmission dynamics of the virus and identify high risk groups. Antibody testing can help us determine whether someone was previously infected with COVID19 even if they showed mild or no symptoms and to confirm COVID19 exposure in persons with a suspected post-infectious condition such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. 

Another valuable use for antibody testing is to determine if a person can donate convalescent plasma. Any confirmed laboratory testing such as antibodies, direct antigen, or molecular test can be used to determine if a patient has been infected with COVID19 for the purposes of donating convalescent plasma.

Culver Pediatrics Center is a laboratory approved to administer COVID19 antibody testing. It is a finger stick blood test that results out in 10 minutes. We offer this test to all our patients and their parents/guardians at no additional cost. Most families do this test to determine if they have been exposed “just to know”. Some families can use the antibody test as one part of multiple factors that go into making decisions about returning to school for their children. If any parent tests positive for antibodies, we will provide them with information about convalescent plasma donation. We encourage anyone who has recovered from COVID19 infection to consider donating plasma which may help critically ill patients. 

If your family is a member of Culver Pediatrics Center and would like antibody testing, text us to schedule an appointment. If you are not a member, click here to learn more about our concierge practice.

Resources:

CDC Recommendations for Antibody Testing

Donating COVID19 Convalescent Plasma