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COVID Antibody Test

This test detects COVID-19 antibodies from a previous infection or vaccination.

Collection method

Typically blood (venipuncture)

Test preparation



Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider

Turnaround time

Typically 48-72 hours

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COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Your immune system makes antibodies in response to illnesses or vaccination. These antibodies are then used the next time you are exposed to a certain pathogen, to help your body fight off the illness faster. COVID-19 antibody testing looks specifically for antibodies made against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus responsible for COVID-19).

What is COVID-19 antibody testing?

COVID-19 antibody tests are designed to test for a past COVID-19 infection or vaccination. Antibody testing will not test if you have an active COVID-19 infection, so you should utilize other testing modalities if you believe that you are actively infected with COVID-19, recommends the CDC. If you have recently received a COVID-19 vaccine, antibody testing will most likely show artificially positive results, as you will have antibodies circulating in your bloodstream in the days or weeks following vaccination.

Nausea or diarrhea (less common)

How does antibody testing work?

To better understand antibody testing, it can be helpful to understand what antibodies are. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body when you become infected with an illness. Ultimately, they are the body’s defense mechanism to aid you in your recovery efforts. The body will identify a virus as foreign and attack it, and in doing so, the body will develop antibodies.

Types of COVID-19 antibody tests

There are two types of antibody tests for COVID-19: binding tests and neutralizing antibody tests.

Binding antibody tests are the kind that is most widely available, and these tests simply look to see how high the antibody load is within an individual. Binding tests do not tell you how protected you are against reinfection, reports the DCC

According to the CDC, neutralizing antibody tests are less available; newer tests are a bit more detailed in their analyses of the types of antibodies that you have circulating in your system. The neutralizing tests look to see how strong your antibodies are at fighting against a COVID-19 infection.

Who should get an antibody test?

The CDC recommends that you should get an antibody test if you believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or if you are curious about if your body is still producing antibodies against the virus.

Most people get the antibody test to provide them with clarity or reassurance regarding their immunity status.

Additional reasons for people to consider getting an antibody test, according to the CDC include:

  • If you have experienced COVID-19-like symptoms in the past but were never formally tested, an antibody test would provide clarity that you were in fact infected with COVID-19 and not a different illness.
  • If you are undergoing a medical procedure in which you want to ensure that risk is mitigated.
  • If you have had COVID-19 in the past and you now want to donate blood to help treat other people with COVID-19.

How to get a COVID-19 antibody test

Antibody tests can be obtained through your local healthcare provider. This could be your primary care physician or a walk-in care provider.

Because they are not actively being recommended as a diagnostic procedure or to assess immunity by the CDC or by the FDA, it is often left up to an individual to contact their healthcare provider to undergo this testing.

In addition, many labs offer antibody tests, so contacting a local, certified lab is another effective way to get an antibody test. You can order your own antibody testing through Solv.

What to expect with a COVID-19 antibody test

If you haven’t undergone the experience of getting an antibody test, it can be helpful to know what you are going into ahead of time so that you can be best prepared.

First, there are no steps needed or considerations to be made prior to going in for a test.

During the test, a healthcare provider will take a blood sample, usually by a finger prick or by taking blood from a vein in your arm or hand. The blood sample is then sent to a lab to be analyzed for antibodies present in the blood.

After the test, you should not notice any side effects and you should not have any limitations.

Usually, you receive results within 1-3 days, notes the CDC. However, this can vary based on the testing site.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies

According to the CDC, if you test positive for antibodies, you have antibodies for COVID-19 in your blood. This means that you have had a past infection, even if you did not have symptoms.

If you test positive for antibodies, it is currently recommended to assume that you are not completely safe or immune from reinfection, reports the CDC. Additionally, the CDC recommends that you continue to take necessary precautions, as there have been many reinfection cases reported.

It is important to note that you may test positive for antibodies if you get tested after receiving the vaccine. It is unknown how long vaccination provides a protective amount of antibodies, according to the CDC.

What to do if you test negative for COVID-19 antibodies

According to the CDC, If you test negative for antibodies, this means that you do not have circulating COVID-19 antibodies in your blood.

It is unknown if all people who become infected with COVID-19 will produce antibodies in an amount that would be detectable in these tests, according to the CDC. So it is possible that you can get a negative antibody test even after infection.

Additionally, according to the CDC, if someone were to develop antibodies after being infected with COVID-19, depending on the time in which they get an antibody test completed, their levels of antibodies may be too low for detection.

Finding a COVID-19 antibody test

You can use Solv to find a walk-in care provider or order an antibody test from a certified lab near you.

Can I get a COVID-19 antibody test at home?

There are at-home COVID-19 antibody tests available. These tests typically involve a finger-prick blood sample that you collect yourself and then send to a laboratory for analysis.

You can order these types of tests online, however, they may be less accurate than tests performed in a laboratory setting.

Cost of the COVID-19 antibody tests

The cost of COVID-19 antibody testing in the USA can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, type of test, and whether or not insurance covers it. On average, the cost can range from $69 to $149 per test without insurance coverage—according to

More about Covid-19

What is Covid-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. It was first identified in December 2019 and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020.

How is Covid-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, according to the CDC. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, though this is rare.

Covid-19 symptoms to watch out for

According to the CDC, symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell (less common)
  • Nausea or diarrhea (less common)

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COVID-19 Antibody Testing FAQs

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about lab tests.

The accuracy of COVID-19 antibody testing varies depending on the specific test used, the timing of the test, and the individual's immune response.According to the CDC, the accuracy of antibody tests also varies depending on when the test is performed relative to the time of infection. It typically takes one to three weeks after infection for the body to produce antibodies, and COVID-19 antibody levels decline over time. This means that an antibody test performed too soon after infection may produce a false-negative result, while a test performed later may produce a more accurate result.In general, the accuracy of antibody testing is higher when performed by a healthcare professional using a high-quality test, and when the test is used as part of a larger diagnostic strategy that includes other tests and medical evaluation.
COVID-19 antibodies may be detectable for several months after infection, however, the exact amount of time will vary with each individual. On average, the CDC estimates that people have circulating antibodies for around three to six months for both vaccination and natural infection.
The CDC reports that there is currently not enough evidence to provide concrete guidance on how long you may be protected with antibodies against reinfection. Always take individual precautions if you are within a high-risk population or have comorbidities that put you at higher risk for severe disease.If you have questions regarding booster shots, it is best to contact your local healthcare provider.
No, antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19. If you are wanting to know if you have an active infection, the CDC recommends getting an antigen test or PCR test.
Accordinging to the CDC,Antibody tests could provide you with differing results if the design of the test is variable, based on how the tests are performed and based on when a test was taken. Your antibody level also decreases over time, which can be different for each individual person.
The antibody tests do not indicate whether you can infect other people, according to the CDC. You should get an antigen or PCR test to determine if you have an active infection.
No, antibody tests should not be used as a measure of if someone is safe to return to work or school, notes the CDC. Antibody testing should also not be used as an exemption test for testing for active COVID-19 infection.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 PCR tests look for genetic components (RNA) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which indicate an active infection or prior recent infection. Antibody testing determines the presence and level of antibodies in the bloodstream for as long as they remain at a detectable level, and are an indication of previous infection or vaccination.
For some illnesses, antibodies provide lifelong immunity. COVID-19 is not one of those illnesses, reports the CDC. Antibodies again COVID-19 provide varying levels of protection, which are different for each person.
A positive antibody test means that you had a natural infection or vaccination in recent history (usually, within the last six months, according to the CDC). So it is possible that your antibodies were produced by an asymptomatic case, especially if you did not receive a vaccine during that time frame.
Yes, you can still get vaccines for COVID-19 even if you have previously had the illness. In fact, the CDC as well as other trustworthy leaders in health recommend that you follow the current CDC schedule for vaccination against COVID-19.

This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

Updated on Jan 25, 2023

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.

Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.

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