This week we went live on our Instagram page (cooperorthodonticsinc) about the anti-body testing. Our office staff was tested a couple weeks ago and we wanted to share about our experience and what we learned from getting this test done! We opened the floor for questions from our viewers and here are some of the questions we received that we thought were worth sharing with our readers:
Q: What is the anti-body test? I’ve never heard of it
A: You may hear it called a serology test. It looks for certain things called antibodies in your blood. Your body makes these when it fights an infection, like COVID-19. The same thing happens when you get a vaccine, like a flu shot. That’s how you develop immunity to a virus.
The antibody test isn’t checking for the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system — your body’s defense against illness — has responded to the infection. You’ll have to give some blood, like through a finger prick. Doctors test for two kinds of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. They look for:
IgM antibodies, which develop early in an infection, and
IgG antibodies, which are more likely to show up later after you’ve recovered
It takes your body about 4 weeks to develop IgM antibodies. But scientists aren’t sure how long it’ll take for this to happen with SARS-CoV-2. More tests are needed to find out.
Keep in mind that current antibody tests can’t tell you if you’re immune to COVID-19. That’s because we don’t know how long these antibodies might protect you against the coronavirus. And these tests shouldn’t be used to diagnose the virus.
P.S. There are RT-PCR and genome sequencing tests as well but they are less common and more time intensive
Q: Is the anti-body test worth it?
A: Some may be discouraging testing because its not a “sure thing” if you get a positive or negative. Although its good to wait for a more accurate test, if no one gets tested early, then the test cannot get better.
The nasal swab tests for active COVID-19 infection are not 100% either – so even if you do one of the most accurate tests there is the possibility of a false positive or false negative
I would encourage people to get tested, knowing which test they are they are getting and knowing that its not 100% accurate. As more and more tests are run the companies will improve their tests.
What should you do if you get a positive antibody test? You should then get a test for active COVID-19.
- If that’s negative then you probably don’t have it
- If they are both positive then you should go into isolation until
- Fever free 72 hours
- Any symptoms have improved
- AND 10 days have passed since you had any symptoms
Q: Does it take as long to get antibody tests as covid results?
A: It depends on the type of test – RT-PCR, genome or serology and even amongst the popular tests. It takes about 2-4 days for either but there is high demand and it may take longer for either. Depends on the lab and the resources they have.
Here are a couple links we found helpful and informative!
British Blog from research scientists: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/diagnosis/diagnostic-test/dentistry-diagnostic-test-accuracy-covid-19-antibody-test/
Q: Are The tests Accurate?
A: If you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, that usually means you’ve had COVID-19. But you may get a negative result if you’ve only had the virus a short time. And it’s possible to get exposed and not develop antibodies. You may also get a “false positive.” That means you have antibodies but had a different kind of coronavirus. Some companies have made false claims about how well their antibody tests work. But the FDA says it will crack down on any manufacturer who sells a bad test.
Q: Where can I get tested?
A: You can get tested at certain testing centers or family doctor. You can call your local hospital to ask where testing centers are available!
Q: Does it cost money?
A: Yes it does but insurance should cover it if you have it.
Q: How long does it take to get results back?
A: Depends on the type of test – rapid results are almost immediate – but sometimes lack accuracy!
Q: How do they take the test? Is it a nasal swab?
A: Serology (blood) tests are a blood draw. Active infection tests is usually performed with a swab.
Q: I feel nervous about coming in for my appointment- Is your staff clear of the virus?
A: Any staff present has been clear of the virus or has undergone the CDC recommended wait time of 72 hours without fever and 10 days since first signs and are otherwise symptom free.
Q: Even though your staff is clear of the infection are you all still wearing PPE?
A: Yes – we don’t want to carry an infection from one patient to another or get infected ourselves if someone is carrying virus and doesn’t know it – but really there is less risk in a dental office than going to the grocery store or a restaurant. We actually disinfect, sterilize and wear PPE. We have been using guidelines to prevent airborn diseases for a long time – we are experts.
These are just a few questions we had asked but we thought were super important to address! If any of you have further questions for us feel free to reach us via e-mail, phone, facebook, Instagram, Yelp, or Google! We hope this was informative to you and helpful in making our patients feel comfortable coming in for their scheduled appointments.
Dr. Bryn Cooper