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What is the Antibody Test?

Antibody tests are a group of tests, also called serology tests in medicine, and are used to investigate antibodies formed due to previous diseases or applications such as vaccines and serum. The immune system, which recognizes these microorganisms after infections caused by agents such as bacteria and viruses, protects the antibodies it has formed against this factor for a while after the disease has been overcome, and this is called immunity. Therefore, investigating whether there are antibodies in the body against a disease means investigating whether the person has developed immunity to this disease. The immunity period provided by each disease and each vaccine administered against disease agents in the body is different. Antibody tests can be applied as needed to evaluate these, to investigate whether a disease has been experienced before or to determine whether a vaccine is needed.

What is the Antibody Test?

What is the Antibody Test?

Antibodies are cells that the immune system produces to destroy microorganisms that cause infections. Antibodies that fight against disease agents such as bacteria and viruses that cause infections form the body’s acquired immunity. The body produces a separate antibody specific to each disease agent, and this antibody only defends against this agent. Antibody development against a particular microorganism can occur in more than one way. Being exposed to the disease agent in question before, having an infection caused by this microorganism or having been vaccinated against it causes the production of antibodies in the body. At the same time, in utero or breastfed babies, the mother’s antibodies pass into the baby’s blood. The residence time of antibodies produced by any of these ways in the body differs according to the type of microorganism and the frequency of mutation. While those who have had viral diseases such as chickenpox and measles or who have their vaccines have a lifelong immunity; The tetanus vaccine is a vaccine that needs to be renewed every few years, and the flu vaccine every year. Therefore, serology tests are used to determine the need for vaccination or to investigate whether a disease has been experienced before.

Who Is The Antibody Test Applied To?

Antibody tests are usually applied to people who are suspected of having a disease agent in their body. Antibodies produced against any bacterial or viral infection may be subject to serology testing. There are different types of antibodies that fight different disease agents. For example, antibodies such as IgA, IgB, and IgG are some antibodies used in the investigation of various diseases or immune status against them. The presence of the investigated antibody type in the blood of the person above a certain level means that the person has developed immunity against the microorganism in question. Some of the reasons why antibody tests are performed include:

Scans for Covid-19
Research on hepatitis types
Research on autoimmune diseases
Tests to determine the need for a vaccine dose
Tests to measure the effectiveness of a vaccine in the body
Investigating whether any disease has been previously
Infectious disease screenings requested during applications for work, school or community living environments

Antibody Test and COVID-19 Relationship

The wide-ranging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world, the tests and vaccine applications for the disease have brought the concept of antibody and antibody tests to the agenda more than ever, and these tests have become widespread. Antibody tests are frequently used in screening for the new type of coronavirus. Antibody tests provide reliable information for people who show symptoms of the disease, are thought to have had the disease before, or are not sure whether they need a new dose of vaccine. The Covid-19 antibody test can result in two different results, positive and negative. A person with a positive test result may have had a previous Covid-19 infection, currently have a Covid-19 infection, or have previously been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. As a result, he has become immune to Covid-19. A positive antibody test result in a person who has not had the disease before and has not been vaccinated indicates that the disease has been asymptomatic. People with a negative test result may not have had the disease before, have not been vaccinated, or may have lost their immunity despite experiencing any of these. The antibody test may also be negative in people who are already infected with Covid-19 but are in the early days of the disease. Therefore, this possibility should also be evaluated. Although antibody tests can provide important information about immunity to coronavirus disease, it has been observed that even people who have positive antibody tests and are immune to the virus can be re-infected. For this reason, all individuals should pay attention to the precautions against the disease in the same way. In some cases, antibody tests may give false positive or false negative results, although this is rare. If such a doubt arises, a new test is needed. The fact that more than one test gives the same result supports the accuracy of the test result.

What is the Antibody Test?

How is the Antibody Test Done?

Antibody tests can be done in different ways and the appropriate test method will vary depending on the type of antibody being investigated. In an antibody test, several types of antibodies produced for that disease are generally investigated. Two common types of antibody testing are the use of rapid diagnostic kits and blood tests. Rapid diagnostic kits, produced to speed up scans in the Covid-19 pandemic, are tests that give results in as little as 15 minutes. Swab samples taken from the oral or nasal mucosa or both can be examined and concluded in a short time in the health institution. However, since antibody production has not reached a significant level in the first days of the disease, antibody tests performed these days are not safe enough. The second test method is the blood test, which is performed by examining the blood sample taken from the person in serology laboratories. Since the antibody analysis in the blood sample is performed more sensitively in the laboratory environment, the margin of error is less and the accuracy of the result obtained is higher. However, these tests also require a longer period of 3-5 days. No preparation is required for both rapid diagnostic kits and antibody tests via blood tests. These tests can be applied at any time of the day. However, if different blood tests are required in addition to the antibody test, it may be desirable to give the collected blood samples for these on an empty stomach.

Is the Antibody Test Sufficient?

In both cases, there may be a significant margin of error, especially for patients in the first days of infection, since antibody production requires a certain amount of time. For this reason, it may be necessary to repeat the test or apply for antigen tests in patients who show symptoms despite a negative antibody test. Antibody tests are very reliable for people who want to find out whether they have had a disease before or whether they have a vaccine, as they will not be able to be mistaken. Antibody tests are frequently used, especially in examinations for infectious diseases, ELISA tests, and investigation of carriers for disease agents. Since there is no time problem in these studies, blood tests with higher reliability are preferred.

If you want to know whether you are immune to any disease or not, you can consult your doctor and have an antibody test done. According to the results you will get, you can have your vaccinations if you need them; You can protect yourself against infectious diseases.

The content of the page is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for treatment.