Should I get an antibody test? If it is positive, does it mean I am immune to COVID-19?

Antibody tests look to see if there is evidence of an immune response to the COVID-19 virus in a person’s blood. Antibody tests of varying quality are being marketed worldwide as a “test for immunity to COVID-19” and people are interested because they think it will give them “peace of mind” and they won’t have to take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19. Some of these tests are marketed for home use and others are for healthcare providers on patients and then send to a lab for results. In the US, the FDA tests and approves antibody tests to make sure they are sensitive and accurate in detecting COVID-19 antibodies, and don’t result in too many false positives or negatives.

A positive test result – a test which shows that antibodies are present – does not mean that a person will be immune to COVID-19 for many reasons:

  • It is unknown how long COVID-19 antibodies last in the body – a positive test could indicate an early infection or a more recent one.
  • Depending on the quality of the test, a positive result could be from another type of coronavirus - not specifically COVID-19.
  • It is unknown if the existence of COVID-19 antibodies means a person is immune to COVID-19 – there are cases worldwide of people getting infected more than once.

Because so much is unknown about COVID-19, antibody tests are not recommended to diagnose COVID-19, and most people do not need an antibody test at this time. If you believe you may have COVID-19, it is best to get tested with a viral test. Frederick Health Hospital offers Curbside testing, as well as healthcare providers and other locations in Frederick County.

For everyone, it is recommended to wash hands, practice physical distancing, and wear a face covering when around others.

For more information about antibody testing, visit: CDC Test for Past Infection

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1. What stage of recovery are we in now?
2. What if people from an area that has not reopened come to Frederick County?
3. How do I get tested? Does the Health Department test people?
4. Does Frederick County have any cases of COVID-19?
5. There aren’t many cases of COVID-19 in my zipcode. Does this mean I can’t get infected?
6. Do I need to wear a mask? Where do I get a mask?
7. Should my child wear a face covering? What if my child is scared? What about children with special health care needs?
8. How important is it for me to get my child’s vaccinations now? Can it wait?
9. What if I don’t have a primary healthcare provider?
10. How many people have been tested in Frederick County?
11. I’m sick but can’t get tested OR I tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do now?
12. Should I get an antibody test? If it is positive, does it mean I am immune to COVID-19?
13. Doesn’t the public need to know where a person with COVID-19 has been?
14. How can I get information about cases in nursing homes?
15. Can people with no symptoms have COVID-19?
16. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild. Why is this more serious than the flu?
17. I’ve lost my job. Where can I get help?
18. What resources exist for business owners?
19. How do I report a violation of the Governor’s or County Executive's orders?
20. How Can I Help?
21. Can pets get COVID-19? Can I take my pet to the vet?