With no vaccine or treatment yet for COVID-19, there has been an extended discussion of conducting an antibody test to observe when it might be safe to relax on the guidelines for social-distancing.
These antibody tests can reflect who has been exposed to the Coronavirus and who has not. It is essential as many people who have COVID-19 have no or mild symptoms.
The hope is that people who have already been exposed to this Coronavirus will have immunity against the virus.
When you are immune, your body recognizes the virus and control that causes COVID-19. But it is possible that people with COVID-19 get sick again and can infect the others.
How Can Anyone Become Immune?
When germs enter your body, the immune system begins to function. Is that how it works:
- Bacteria and viruses like those that make COVID-19 have proteins called antigens on their surfaces. Each bacterium has its unique antigen.
- White blood cells in the immune system make proteins called antibodies to fight the antigen. Antibodies bind to antigens the way the key fits into the lock, and destroy invading germs.
- Once exposed to the virus, your body produces memory cells. If you are exposed to the same virus again, these cells recognize it. They tell your immune system to make antibodies against it.
Bacteria and viruses like COVID-19 contain proteins called antigens on their surfaces. Each type of germ shot works almost the same way.
It exposes your body to the antigen that trains your immune system to fight these germs in the future. Because vaccines contain weak or dead copies of the virus, you become resistant without getting sick.
Are You Immune? If You Have COVID-19
Some countries want to issue “immunity passports” to people who have antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, called the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
People with “passports” can return to work and travel because they are supposed to be immune to the virus.
But health experts still don’t know if we are already immune to COVID-19 after our injury. And if we are resistant, we don’t know how long it will last.
Other types of coronaviruses appear to cause some immunity. Studies show that people are protected against coronaviruses that cause colds for up to a year after infection.
Our bodies have antibodies to the coronary SARS virus for up to 4 years.
Most people who have recovered from COVID-19 produce antibodies against the virus. But so far, there is no evidence that this will protect them from the infection if they are exposed to it again.
In South Korea, more than 160 people were positive again after recovering from COVID-19. In China, between 5% and 10% of people were positive after recovering, according to press reports. It is not clear whether:
- These people get the virus again.
- The virus will reactivate after being noiseless for a while.
- The test results were flawed.
Can We Be Protected By Herd Immunity?
Herd immunity occurs when a large part of the population, the herd, is immune to the virus. It can happen because these people have been vaccinated or have already been infected.
Herd immunity hinders the spread of the virus. So even those who are not sick or treated have some protection.
The more infectious the virus, the more people will need immunity to the herd’s immunity. The SARV-CoV-2 virus is so contagious that experts estimate that 70% of people in society need to be immune to protect the herd.
It can be challenging to reach this number without a vaccine, or many people get sick.
Which Test To Be Performed For Immunity?
Antibody tests, also called serum tests, measure antibodies against coronaviruses in the blood.
If you have antibodies, this means that you have been exposed to the virus and that your immune system has formed antibodies against it. Antibody tests differ from those used by doctors to verify the virus itself.
The Pakistan Food and Drug Administration. It has passed four tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies. But more than 13 companies have antibody tests on the market as mentioned earlier in the press release Government Of Pakistan For COVID-19. It is unclear how well these unsupported tests work.
Since COVID-19 is very new, there hasn’t been much time for scientists to verify the accuracy of antibody tests.
It may have false-positive results. It is when there is a positive antibody test, but you have not developed it.
Antibody tests too soon after an illness can lead to incorrect results. It takes 5-10 days after infection to develop antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Antibody tests can give people a false sense of security. They can return to work and start traveling again when they can still catch or spread the virus.
And because people can transmit COVID-19 to others without symptoms, false-positive results can lead to more Coronavirus outbreaks.