What is an antibody test?
In just a few hours after a foreign invasion enters the body, such as SARS-CoV-2, our immune system will carry out random attacks. “General troops” inside the body were thrown at the “foreign intruder” earlier. But the body will then begin sending large Y-shaped molecules, called antibodies, that task is to target the virus precisely. These antibodies bind tightly, locking, certain parts of the virus.
Well, antibody tests are designed to detect the presence of these molecules.
Antibody tests are designed to detect one of two types of molecules, namely immunoglobulins M and immunoglobulins G. (Immunoglobulins are a term for protein groups in the body. It is highly heterogeneous and serves to help combat viruses and foreign substances that enter the body, as an antibody.
Within a few days to a week after the pathogen infects the body, the immune system will produce a small amount of immunoglobulin M (IgM). IgM is indeed the body’s first defense against infection. High-value IgM test results mean there is an active infection.
Then a few days to the next two weeks, the body will send a large amount of G immunoglobulins (IgG). These are antibodies that “remember” enemies you have faced before. If the enemy returns, your immune system will attack them.
An antibody test is a test procedure that is able to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood. The number and variety of these antibodies are related to the strength of the body’s immune system.
There are 5 types of immunoglobulin (IgM, IgG, IgE, IgA, and IgD). But the most frequently examined are IgM, IgG, and IgE. IgM and IgG antibodies work to produce short- and long-term protection. Meanwhile, IgE antibodies are associated with allergic diseases and parasites.
Antibody Test Function
Immunoglobulin blood tests serve to help diagnose the following conditions, including:
- Bacterial or viral infections.
- Immune deficiency, a condition when the body has less ability to fight infections and other diseases.
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
- Autoimmune disorders can cause the immune system to attack healthy cells, tissues, or organs.
- Diagnose various infectious diseases such as HIV, influenza, mumps, polio, rubella, syphilis, tetanus, and others.
- Certain types of cancers, such as multiple myeloma, are cancers that attack plasma cells in the bone marrow.
- Infection in newborns.
Why is there a need for an antibody test?
Your doctor will recommend an antibody test if you have ever had an infection, and need a specific vaccine. This test can also be used if:
- You need a booster vaccine
- You have recently or are having an infection
- Your doctor wants to see your immune system’s response to body tissues, which could indicate autoimmune disorders
- Doctors want to see the possibility of immunization in triggering a response strong enough to fight the disease
- Doctors want to know both transfusion reactions and post-transplant organ rejection
- Doctors want to diagnose allergies.
Antibody test preparation
Before undergoing an antibody test, inform the doctor of information about the drug (either by prescription or over-the-top medicine), supplements, or vitamins that you are taking. In general, no special preparations need to be made. But based on research, patients undergoing chemotherapy, experienced decreased levels of antibodies. Therefore, if you have recently or are undergoing chemotherapy, tell your doctor about this.
Antibody test procedure
Antibody tests are performed through blood tests. The medic will tie your arms so that the blood collects, then cleanse the skin with antiseptic, before injecting a needle into the veins.
Some people feel a stinging pain when the needle is inserted. But this pain will disappear when blood is taken. Once the blood has accumulated, the needle will be removed, and you are asked to press the location of the blood retrieval with cotton wool. The medic will then cover it with plaster or bandages, and you are allowed home.