Everything You Need to Know About Antibody Testing
An antibody test is a diagnostic test performed to check our body's immune response against a pathogen as a defensive response to its invasion. Antibody tests help analyze the spread of disease and provide information about the nature of the disease.
The body has many layers of protection against the outside environment. These include the skin, the mucosal membranes, and so on. Despite these, if any foreign entity, like a bacteria or virus, manages to enter the body, the immune system takes guard to protect the body from its effects. This foreign entity is called the “antigen” in this scenario.
Once the immune system recognizes that this antigen has entered, it produces a specific set of proteins. These proteins are called “antibodies.” Antibodies help the immune system identify, target, and destroy antigens, thereby protecting the body from harm.
How Are Antibody Tests Conducted?
Antibody tests belong to a category of tests called “sero-tests” or “serology tests.” This means that the serum of the blood and other body fluids are screened for the presence of antibodies. Therefore, the samples collected for antibody tests are blood.
When Should I Get an Antibody Test?
Doctors recommend getting antibody tests to determine the presence of any past viral or bacterial infections. In response to an invasion by a foreign entity, the body’s immune system can take up to three to four weeks to develop antibodies. Any antibody test taken earlier may give false negative results as the concentration of antibodies in the sample is not high enough to give accurate results.
What Are the Benefits of Antibody Testing?
Antibody tests provide insight into past infections. For high-risk patients, this can help identify whether the past infection has cleared or not, preventing fatal escalation.
Antibody tests are rapid, cheap, and easily accessible. In times of need, they provide faster, easier, and more accurate screening. This can help keep track of infection rates, especially in the case of highly infectious diseases.
Antibody tests facilitate the development of vaccines. Vaccines work by stimulating the body's immune system but in a protective manner that does not actually cause infection. Antibody tests can therefore help understand the function of antibodies against novel infections. Further, it can also be used to determine how much immunity a person has acquired following vaccination.
Can I Take an Antibody Test?
Doctors do not recommend getting antibody tests to diagnose current infections or if you have recently been vaccinated against any virus or bacteria. An antibody test may be required if you are undergoing surgery, donating blood or plasma, or are a high-risk patient for infectious diseases.
If you want to learn more about antibody testing, please get in touch with our experts at BeaYOUtiful Health and Wellness Center, and make your health a priority! Visit our website today to get started.