Antibodies are complex chemicals made by cells everyone has called B lymphocytes. Antibodies are always circulating in your blood, and also are present on the surface of your nose and throat. The job of antibodies is to protect you from infection with invading bacteria and viruses – viruses like the new coronavirus that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are thousands of viruses – maybe more. Once you have been exposed to a particular virus like COVID-19 and you make antibodies to it, you are almost always immune to that virus again – at least until your antibody levels fall. Most of the time antibodies against a particular virus – sometimes also called ‘antibody titers’ do slowly fall naturally. Even when the levels fall- for some viruses you still are immune for a very long time or for the rest of your life – for others…not so much.
It is not clear exactly yet how long immunity to COVID-19 will last after an exposure to the virus. However, these encouraging facts are known.
There have been two other outbreaks this century with viruses very like COVID-19: SARS in 2002-2004 – and MERS in 2015. These coronaviruses actually are more deadly even than COVID-19. The difference is – they aren’t very contagious. So, these outbreaks stayed local – to Asia for SARS, and the Middle East for MERS – and didn’t turn into a pandemic.
SARS in particular has almost the exact same structure as COVID-19. And folks who get SARS are immune to it for at least two years – maybe longer. Many, many scientists are working non-stop to figure out exactly which kind of antibodies – and how much of them – you need to be immune to COVID-19, and also how long that immunity will last.
These answers almost certainly will be known within six months.
So why should I get the COVID-19 antibody test from EnMed MicroAnalytics’ lab?
There are several reasons why you should get a COVID-19 antibody test from EnMed.
1) With EnMed’s dried blood spot test, folks in very high risk groups who do not choose to leave their home can conveniently check if they have been exposed. EnMed’s test only requires a fingerstick blood sample – NOT a blood specimen drawn from a vein. So, there is no need to drive to a big commercial lab and wait to have your blood drawn.
EnMed’s test is particularly suitable for persons with Diabetes. These folks already are very familiar with doing their own finger sticks, to check on their sugars.
People with diabetes really should be careful. Diabetes greatly increases the chance that someone infected with COVID-19 will get so sick that they need to go to hospital.
EnMed knows how to get accurate antibody levels from tiny spots of blood because it has been doing the same sort of micro-analytic test (for lead exposure) for years. It’s even part of EnMed’s name!
2) EnMed is CLIA-certified as a high-sensitivity laboratory. This CLIA certification was obtained well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike almost all the new COVID-19 tests that are currently available that don’t require drawing blood from a vein – the ones that look like pregnancy tests or rapid strep tests – EnMed doesn’t just provide you with a “yes” or “no” answer to the question “have I already been exposed to COVID-19?”
The EnMed test tells you the exact level of COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. This level likely will be critical in determining your risk of getting COVID-19 again, once scientists figure things out.
Your antibody already are important should you want to volunteer to donate your plasma to help people who currently are sick with COVID-19. There are at least 4 sites in the United States that are recruiting volunteers who have recovered from COVID-19. Doctors are asking folks to donate their “convalescent plasma” to give to critically ill patients with COVID-19.
Plasma donation is like giving blood. It is safe, and not that painful.
3) EnMed was founded by experts in BOTH clinical medicine and laboratory medicine – and is determined to make our laboratory results useful to you. EnMed’s Medical Director, Andrew Unger MD, has over 35 years of patient-care experience with the diagnosis and treatment of potentially fatal viral infections, and is conducting an ongoing review of all the preprint, major medical journal, and Public Health websites that are reporting on COVID19 research.
As soon as accurate, peer-reviewed, information about COVID-19 immunity becomes available, EnMed will alert you to that new information by email (or other preferred method of communication) – and also share that information with you on this website – on our ANTIBODY UPDATE webpage.