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COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Testing 

Covid is over, right? Why should I worry about this?  
Not so fast! Covid is still circulating and if you care about protecting your health you may still want to understand your immunity.

Most IgG/IgM antibody tests are qualitative – meaning they tell you if you have antibodies or not. This antibody test specifically measures your covid neutralizing antibodies – antibodies that specifically target Covid and neutralize it.

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Your questions answered

01

What are Covid Neutralizing Antibodies?

Antibodies are produced by your immune system after vaccination or infection, in response to things the body perceives as foreign (pathogens). What's cool about antibodies is that they can assume different shapes and go after lots of different pathogens.

When an antibody’s shape and electrochemistry match a feature of a pathogen, it can bind or said another way, it gloms onto the pathogen. Sometimes an antibody's shape is not the right fit for a pathogen, but when it does fit the pathogen, it can stop it and it's considered a neutralizing antibody.

 

Covid Neutralizing Antibodies then are just specific types of antibodies that are able to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Once neutralized by this binding, SARS-Co-V-2 can no longer enter human cells or cause infection.

In short, you want to have them and this test will let you know if you do. 

02

When to test?

  • After your second or third COVID-19 vaccine dose to see whether your body produced neutralizing antibodies in response to the vaccine

  • After a COVID-19 infection to check your immune system’s reaction to the infection

  • To have a general baseline to help you decide on additional boosters

03

Why test?

The Covid Neutralizing Antibody test (also referred to as a CNAB test) helps you understand if your body is producing neutralizing antibodies in response to the vaccine or infection. In fact, the presence of these antibodies may speak to how your body will handle Covid-19.

Specifically, researchers found that participants with healthy levels of neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from the get-go had only mild symptoms when infected while participants who wound up hospitalized had initially minimal or undetectable levels of neutralizing antibodies at the start. See: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.abm7853

 

Further, Neutralizing antibody levels can help predict your immune protection from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01377-8

04

What is needed for the test?

 A small blood sample.

05

What will my results look like?

The test result will indicate if neutralizing antibodies are present or not. If they are present or positive, that means you’ve had an immune response which may mean you are protected or have immunity.**

 

 

*Antibody tests are not the same thing as Covid PCR or Covid antigen tests. You don’t use them to determine if you have COVID-19 or not.

**A positive result should not be interpreted as meaning you won’t get infected again or that the severity or duration of infection will be reduced. It’s still not known how long antibodies remain present and even if the amount of antibodies you have over time decline, that doesn’t mean you’re unprotected. (Memory B cells and T-cell responses are long-lived and not yet totally understood. See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04527-1 and https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04460-3)