What do the results from an antibody test mean?

If you test positive:

  • A positive test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus.
  • It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. This means that we do not know at this time if antibodies make you immune to the virus.It’s possible you might test positive for antibodies and you might not have or have ever had symptoms of COVID-19. This is known as having an asymptomatic infection, or an infection without symptoms.

If you test negative:

  • If you test negative for COVID-19 antibodies, you probably did not have a previous infection that had gotten better. However, you could have a current infection and you could still get sick and spread the virus if you have been exposed or are exposed in the future.
  • It is also possible that it may take a long time to develop antibodies and, in some cases, individuals may never develop antibodies. This could cause a false negative test result.

Show All Answers

1. How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
2. What is a viral test, and what do the results tell you)?
3. What is an antibody test?
4. What do the results from an antibody test mean?
5. What are the limitations of antibody testing?
6. Are test materials available in St. Charles County, and how may they be obtained?
7. How does St. Charles County utilize test results? Can an antibody test affect the quarantine period for an individual?
8. How is COVID-19 treated?
9. Should I take chloroquine phosphate, hydroxychloroquine or other medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19?
10. My question was not listed among these FAQs. Where can I go for additional information?