Can Antibody Tests Help Beat COVID-19?

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VIDEO | 01:16

Doctors think antibody tests may play an important role in defeating COVID-19. Infectious disease expert Tobias Hohl explains how.

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Antibody tests gives us tremendous hope against defeating the virus, and I want to explain how they'll help us defeat the virus. Right now, we are diagnosing COVID-19 using a test that directly detects the virus particle. This is really helpful for diagnosing disease in patients who are symptomatic and who come, for example, to our urgent care clinics. However, many of you may have very mild disease and you may be wondering, did I have COVID-19 or not? That's where antibody tests come in. Antibody tests are based on the idea that our infection fighting system, the immune system, produces antibodies starting about a week after you've been exposed to COVID-19. These antibodies form a permanent mark and can be detected using an antibody-based test. They come into play because if an antibody test tells you that you've been exposed to COVID-19, you are much less likely to get a second infection. And it not only reassures our patients, but it also reassures healthcare workers, and antibody tests are going to be critical for reopening society as this pandemic wanes.