Having antibodies to COVID-19 does not mean you are immune to the virus

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Antibodies can tell doctors if you had a past infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sanford Health can now test your antibodies to determine if you were previously infected with COVID-19.

In addition, Sanford Health is conducting research to find out the significance of antibody tests. Sanford Research is studying volunteering caregivers who are at highest concern for exposure to learn more about the virus that causes COVID-19.

Susan Hoover is an Infectious Disease Doctor for Sanford. She says antibody testing has only been offered with a doctor’s order for the past month, but now they’re opening it to the public.

“At this early point, it sort of seems like getting reinfected soon is at least not common and maybe even extremely rare. Going down the road years in the future we really don’t know how it will be. So, right now I think the presence of antibodies would not necessarily dictate whether or not a person could become reinfected. We just don’t know,” Hoover said.

However, in another year, Hoover said they will know much more about the virus.

Getting an antibody test does help health care workers understand more about COVID-19, but it may not benefit you now. But by helping doctors now, it could be beneficial for you in the future.

“It’s maybe more a matter of curiosity than something that would really affect your health. I don’t think there’s anybody who really needs to get tested at this point, if they don’t want to,” Hoover said.

Hoover said just because you have antibodies doesn’t mean you won’t get COVID-19 again. Research is still being done on the virus, and there’s much to learn.

“I think if you have antibodies, you should still be concerned. You should not consider yourself COVID-proof. We just don’t know. I think if you have the antibody it is very likely that you have had COVID,” Hoover said.

According to the CDC, a positive result shows you could have antibodies from an infection that causes COVID-19. However, it could mean that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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