"The idea that [having the antibodies is] has a ticket or passport or that you have a sign – that makes me nervous," says Dr. Currier because this means that these individuals are less likely to take precautions to reduce their risk of getting infected. As always, the best place to get specific recommendations for your individual case is your own doctor.
They cannot tell you anything about your personal risk of re-infection.
Although some experts say you probably have some protection after you've recovered from the virus, it doesn't mean that you should be walking around as if you were absolutely safe.
This is partly due to the fact that the actual immunity potential is not yet clear. It is also because there is a possibility that different people may develop different levels of protection based on a number of different factors that have not yet been identified. For example, results from a recent preprint that looked at data from 1
They cannot tell you whether you are still contagious or not.
In addition to the assumptions about immunity, there is also the built-in assumption that if you have IgG antibodies, the virus is no longer excreted and you are therefore no longer contagious. Although this may be true for some diseases, Dr. Kadkhoda that the timing of this IgG response – if patients are still experiencing symptoms – suggests that this is not always the case with the new coronavirus. Instead, we should continue to use the CDC-recommended procedure, in which nasopharyngeal swabs look for viral RNA, to determine whether someone is still contagious after infection.
You can give us a better idea of how widespread the outbreak was and is.
One thing that antibody tests are actually useful for is that they can give us, with sufficient accuracy, a better picture of how far the outbreak has spread.
We know that the virus has a long incubation period. This means that it can take up to 14 days for someone who has the infection to actually have symptoms. But even if someone doesn't feel sick or never develops symptoms, they can have the virus and spread it to other people. However, someone who had no or only mild symptoms could never get a COVID-19 test themselves or ever find that they had the infection, and therefore our estimates of the prevalence of the virus would have overlooked it.
So, using antibody tests, we can see who was actually exposed to the virus, regardless of how severe their disease was or whether they ever received a COVID-19 test during their infection.
You cannot tell us whether this is the case or not time to reopen a city.
From an early age, politicians placed great emphasis on getting early access to antibody tests. But they are definitely not the key to “reopening” society and safely returning people to work, says Dr. Kadkhoda. The strategy has now evolved.
In New York City, for example, it was only the first step in determining how widespread the outbreak was to get enough antibody tests for the population. And now that the city is gradually reopening, Governor Andrew Cuomo has set criteria that each county must meet, including setting up and launching contacts to ensure that hospitals have adequate overflow capacity and a constant low rate New infections are recorded. and ensure that healthcare workers have a sufficient supply of PPE.
The only way to be sure that COVID-19 offers protection is through long-term research, including vaccine trials.
Ultimately, the only way to really know if antibodies to the new corona virus in your system offer immunity is to look at long-term studies. This includes epidemiological studies in real patients who have recovered to determine whether or not they can be reinfected months later. For studies like this, data from other countries that have dealt with the pandemic before the United States are extremely useful. And, says Dr. Kadkhoda, which also includes long-term vaccine trials currently underway, SELF previously explained.