Does having antibodies mean you are safe?
An antibody test will be a way to find out who has been infected with the coronavirus and who is at risk. And by doing this test sparingly around the world, the opportunity to finally return to a healthy normal time will be created. Some people are sure that they had Covid-19 but the result of his ‘antibody test’ was ‘negative’. Again, someone may be relieved to get a ‘positive’ result of an ‘antibody test’ and say that it is no longer possible for him to be Covid-19.
But the real picture is not so simple. Details are based on a report by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, a Swiss-based international organization. Like all other health tests, the Covid-19 antibody test is highly sensitive. The majority of those who have already been infected with the virus will have a ‘positive’ result. But who really has the disease? To understand that, we have to look at the results more deeply.
‘Sensitivity’ and ‘Specificity’ of Antibody Tests
Having a ‘sensitivity’ of 90 per cent in the test means that 90 per cent of those who have Covid-19 will get a ‘positive’ result. And 10 percent will come ‘False Negative’. On the other hand, the ‘specification’ of the test is 98 percent, which means that 2 percent of people who have never been Covid-19 will get ‘False Positive’.
In many countries of the world, the number of people who have not been infected with this disease is still high. As such, the ‘false positive’ of 2% of the world’s population is not a negligible number at all.
Spain recently claimed in a survey that five percent of the country’s population has been exposed to the coronavirus. In other words, if one thousand people in Spain are tested for antibodies, 50 of them should have Covid-19 antibodies in their body. If the ‘antibody test’ is 90 percent ‘sensitive’, then 45 out of those 50 people will be identified as ‘true positive’. On the other hand, since the test is not 100% ‘specific’, out of the 950 people who have never been exposed to the coronavirus, 2% will have ‘negative’ again.
In all, a total of 64 people will get ‘positive’ results, of which only 80 percent actually have coronavirus ‘antibodies’.
This percentage is calculated by experts as ‘Positive Predictive Value (PPV)’. Its value will depend on how far the virus has spread among the population of a country. If the disease has spread to more people, then more people who have tested positive for the disease actually have or have had the disease, resulting in higher levels of PPV.
This whole thing is definitely complicated. Simply put, in a population where the incidence of the virus is still low, the results of using an ‘antibody test’ should not be taken directly. The reliability of this test depends not only on the results, but also on the level of exposure to the virus in the population being tested.
Time to get sick
The reliability of the antibody test also depends on how long the patient has been infected. It takes a long time for the immune system to make antibodies that can be detected in antibody tests. If antibody tests are done within a week of the onset of symptoms, only 30 percent of patients will test positive. It will stand at 80 percent in the second week, and 90 percent in the third week.
Again, if someone’s antibody levels drop during this period, the number of positives may decrease. Many do not have any symptoms again. Some people never produce enough antibodies to be detected in a test.
There are many types of coronaviruses. The common cold is that the antibodies that destroy the coronavirus are the same as the antibodies. That destroy the coronavirus that cause the disease Covid-19.
As a result, positive results can come from the antibodies in the blood. But antibodies protecting Kovid-19 were never in his body.
Does having antibodies mean someone is safe?
After all, even if antibodies are found in someone’s body. It is not possible to say that the person will no longer be infected with Covid-19. This antibody is one of the many complex processes in the body’s immune system. And even without antibodies, there are many more immunity tools to destroy any virus.
But whether the antibody or any other tool is strong enough to control the virus will ultimately determine who wins. If the immune system wins, you will recover, and if the virus wins, you will be infected with Covid-19.
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