Coronavirus Antibody Test: How Does it Work?
Published On Nov 16, 2020, Updated On Apr 22, 2021
The Coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease, which is an infectious disease caused by the coronavirus. People who fall ill due to the Coronavirus disease experience mild to moderate symptoms, and they usually recover without any specialized treatment. Like most of them, the elderly experience greater symptoms with pre-existing health concerns like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer.
Transmission of Coronavirus
The COVID-19 virus is mainly transmitted by droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when sneezing or coughing by an infected person. The most productive way to stop or at least slow down the transmission of the virus is to be well-informed about its spread. One can protect themselves from the viruses by practicing best habits like washing hands using alcohol-based sanitizer or a good soap.
Testing for COVID Infection
To determine whether an individual has contracted the virus or had contracted it earlier, the Antibody test for COVID-19 can be done. This is a test which many countries have performed on their citizens to check if they have the SARS-COVS-2 antibodies. This determines if people are infected or not. It is conducted at the population level or in groups like those of healthcare workers, primary and secondary contacts of the affected person, and households. The studies so obtained from these testing processes are supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
There is a discussion that raises whether these tests are effective and how they are performed. The method involved is similar to that of a simple blood test. A technician collects a bit of the individual’s blood using the finger prick method. The test looks for antibodies that are associated with the SARS-COV-2, which is the COVID-19 causing virus. It looks for:
- IgM antibodies- these are shown early in the infection process
- IgG antibodies- these are most abundant in the blood
- IgA antibodies- these protect the mucosa.
Along with these, the total antibody levels are also measured. The presence of the antibodies can be detected anywhere from 1-2 weeks after infection. The results of the test are available reasonably fast as well.
Working Mechanism of COVID Test
The test checks for the binding of targeted antibodies to specific viral proteins(antigens). The platforms used for conducting these tests are enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, otherwise known as ELISA, chemiluminescent immunoassay, and lateral flow assay. The collected samples are incubated with viral antigens on an assay platform. If the blood contains the antibody against the coronavirus, it binds to the viral antigen, and the test results will indicate positive.
The viral antigens that are used in the detection of antibodies against the novel coronavirus are spike protein. This is a specialized surface protein that binds the host cell and facilitates viral entry. The Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, also known as ACE 2 a nucleocapsid-an RNA-binding protein used to form the viral capsid, and a receptor-binding domain, is a part of the mentioned spike protein that binds the Coronavirus to the host receptor.
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This proves to be an effective test to determine the presence of the virus. People exhibiting any symptom of the Coronavirus must get tested to prevent community spread of the virus. People should also get health insurance in such a time because the expenses of treatment are high. The testing process itself is very simple and easy to get done. It has proven to be efficient and effective.
Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.