Experts explain positive antibody test doesn't mean immune to COVID-19

Posted at 11:54 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 08:05:33-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Scientists and doctors are working to try and better understand the impacts of the coronavirus on the human body.

Health experts say an antibody test is not looking for the presence of COVID-19 in your body, but rather proteins that your body responded to it in the past.

You can't drive up to Sentara and get tested for antibodies in your car like the COVID-19 tests, according to officials.

Doctor Tabetha Sundin, the Molecular Diagnostics Scientific Director at Sentara Healthcare, stressed just because you’ve tested positive for the antibody doesn’t necessarily mean you are automatically immune to the virus.

“Right now, we don’t know if seeing the virus one time is efficient enough to make sure that you can’t get it again,” said Sundin. She said there are many unknowns that are being studied right now.

Sundin said that is why it is extremely important to social distance and wear a mask, even if you have tested positive for the antibody. She said we don’t know if getting coronavirus will create protective immunity.

According to Sundin, Sentara is currently participating in a clinical trial with the Mayo Clinic. She said they are taking plasma from people who have tested positive for the antibodies and giving it to people who are struggling to fight COVID-19.

“We are getting plasma from patients that have successfully fought COVID-19 and transfusing that into patients that are not fighting it well,” Sundin said.

The patients suffering are able to use the antibodies from the other person who has recovered to help fight COVID-19, Sundin says.

She said the early results are looking promising.

Experts say to talk to your doctor if you are interested in getting an antibody test.

"We’re learning so much every day but there’s still so much that we don’t know and a lot of it is the immunity to this," said Sundin.

For more information from the CDC, click here.