There’s a lot that we still don’t know and understand about COVID-19, but here’s what we do know – testing can help us prevent further spread of the virus.
Widespread testing, which has been a problem in the United States and around the world, is crucial for understanding more about how the virus works and providing guidance for social distancing. By knowing who has tested positive, they can be isolated, and contact tracing can determine who they have been around to isolate them as well.
Antibody tests are an important part of knowing the total number of people who had COVID-19 and may have been asymptomatic. Antibodies are the body’s response to COVID-19 – they help fight infections, and they’ve got a great memory. They remember how to fight if they ever encounter the virus again. If someone has these antibodies, it’s a sign that they were infected with COVID-19 and may not have known.
There are three benefits to getting antibody testing:
- To know if you have antibodies. Even if you do, you should still take precautions like practicing social distancing and wearing a mask because it’s not known if you can get COVID-19 again.
- To donate convalescent plasma (see below)
- To help researchers understand the spread of COVID-19 in our communities
Researchers have been hard at work figuring out treatments and vaccines to combat COVID-19. One investigational treatment that may have promise is convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is donated from confirmed COVID-19 patients. Their plasma contains powerful antibodies that may be able to help those who are severely sick from COVID-19. This plasma may also help prevent confirmed COVID-19 patients from developing a more severe sickness from this virus.