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What is antibody testing for COVID-19? How is it useful?

The European Union and The Food and Drug Administration in the USA have approved certain antibody tests for COVID-19. Antibody testing is screening a sample of blood for tiny molecules called antibodies. These antibodies have learned to respond to a particular pathogen such as a virus. These antibodies learn to recognize and fight off specific viruses through exposure to them. If a doctor finds antibodies that respond to a certain virus in a person’s body, then the infected person can fight off the virus. In the context of the pandemic, some researchers argue that deploying antibody tests more widely could help slow the spread of the virus. They could also play an important role in confirming who qualifies in donating convalescent plasma- a component in the blood that contains antibodies. In light of the potential benefits of antibody testing, researchers affiliated with viruses, healthcare, and pharmaceutical companies have started developing antibody tests, some of which have received official certificates. The CDC encourages the citizens to take antibody tests who wish to do so.

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