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COVID Antibody Test Accuracy: Can They Tell If the Vaccine Worked?

Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat · Respiratory Therapy

Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Apr 20, 2022

    COVID Antibody Test Accuracy: Can They Tell If the Vaccine Worked?

    With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic still present, people have gone in and out of hospitals and clinics to get antibody tests to see if they may or may not have COVID-19. You may have even gotten an antibody test to make sure that the vaccine you got is effective. But what is the COVID antibody test accuracy? If you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, will an antibody test be useful in showing if the vaccine worked?

    Here are the things that you should look out for in antibody test results.

    COVID antibody test accuracy: What do COVID-19 antibody test results mean?

    A SARS-CoV-2 antibody test aims to look at antibodies in samples. This is to determine if you may or may not have had a previous COVID infection.

    Positive result

    When you get back the results of an antibody test and receive a positive one, this might mean that previously, you might have had COVID-19. This might have occurred in your body without you exhibiting any of the symptoms. This will signify that you might need to exert more caution and be careful when going outside or interacting with people, as you may need to protect yourself and other people from potential exposure.

    Negative result

    On the other hand, if you get back results and it says it’s negative, there has been no recent COVID-19 infection detected in your body. However, it doesn’t mean you did not have it before or currently. This is because antibodies could be present at certain levels that might be below the threshold for detection. It takes one to three weeks after infection for antibodies to be detectable.

    Months after infection, the antibody levels can decrease to below the level needed to be detected.

    The critical thing to remember is that if you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, consult a doctor immediately. Always remember to follow the health standards and precautions laid out by the World Health Organization and your local government.

    COVID antibody test accuracy: You can’t rely on antibody testing to predict immunity

    Experts still need answers when it comes to determining what the results of an antibody test entail and other factors might play in these.

    There are many versions and variations of antibody tests that are popular in the market right now, and all originate from various manufacturers. However, research suggests that you should not rely on antibody testing alone when trying to determine if a person who previously had COVID-19 can sustain their immunity against it.

    There is currently a lack of research that covers whether the presence of antibodies truly means complete immunity, or how long it would last.

    COVID antibody test accuracy: Can you test vaccine effectiveness by investigating antibodies?

    Some people believe that an antibody test can be used in detecting the actual presence of COVID-19. This is not true. According to the FDA, antibody tests can have negative results, even in infected people. You can also get a false negative with your antibody results.

    On the other hand, a positive antibody result can be helpful in identifying if you may have had an infection before. However, more research is needed on antibody testing in those who have received full vaccination against SARS-Cov-2.

    There are many available serology tests in the market. However, none have been evaluated in terms of assessing the immune responses to a COVID-19 vaccine.

    COVID antibody test accuracy: Do not forget to stay safe

    Even if you’re fully vaccinated, it is still vital to follow the health policies present in your area. A positive or a negative result doesn’t give you 100% confirmation that you cannot spread COVID to others.

    Until no further research is released, do your part in being a responsible citizen.

    Key Takeaway

    Antibody testing is helpful in determining if you have previously caught COVID-19. However more studies are needed on whether antibody testing can predict the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Learn more about COVID-19 here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Michael Henry Wanat

    Respiratory Therapy

    Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Apr 20, 2022

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