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The scoop on Antibody Tests

As the name suggests, these tests look for antibodies made by your immune system in response to an infection with the new coronavirus.

Antibody tests are not diagnostic tests.

“Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks after recovery,” according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source. “Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection.”

Antibody tests also aren’t terribly useful.

Ideally, a positive antibody test would tell you that you’ve recovered from COVID-19 or a coronavirus infection and have immunity from future infections, allowing you to return to work, travel, and socialization without the risk of transmitting the infection or becoming sick again yourself.

However, researchers don’t yet know whether the presence of antibodies means that you have immunity, whether you could still get sick from a different strain of the virus, or how long immunity lasts.

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