The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an excellent, up-to-date summary of the current state of COVID-19 antibody testing. At this time, our practice is not recommending that patients be tested for antibodies, as the results are difficult to interpret.
If your child tests positive, it means that they may have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they never had any symptoms (i.e. asymptomatic infection).
- HOWEVER, it’s possible that the positive result is NOT from previously being infected with SARS-CoV-2, but rather a different virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.
- EVEN IF the positive result is due to antibodies following infection with SARS-CoV-2, we don’t know how much protection these antibodies provide against reinfection, or how long this protection may last.
- Because of this uncertainty, even with a positive antibody test, your child should continue to wash their hands often, avoid close contact with others, and wear a cloth mask in situations outside of your home where social distancing cannot be maintained.
If your child tests negative, they may not have ever had COVID-19.
- HOWEVER, they could have a current or recent infection with SARS-CoV-2, since it takes a few weeks after infection for the body to produce antibodies.
- It is also possible to have COVID-19 but never develop antibodies after recovery.