Lebanon Valley College does not accept antibody testing as a form of entry testing. Antibody testing does not detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and cannot be used to diagnose a current COVID infection. Antibody tests may actually be negative in someone currently infected with COVID.
Antibodies can take days or weeks to develop in the body after being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 being positive for the virus and it is unknown how long they stay in the blood.
Antibody tests may detect another coronavirus, such as the common cold—it is not specific to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. This could lead someone to falsely believe they have immunity against COVID-19.
A positive antibody test does not necessarily mean you are immune to COVID-19. Researchers are still trying to understand whether having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will protect you from getting infected again. A positive antibody test also does not indicate whether you can infect other people with SARS-CoV-2.
A negative result on a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test means antibodies to the virus were not detected in your sample. It could mean:
- You were not previously infected with COVID-19.
- You had COVID-19 in the past but did not develop or have not yet developed detectable antibodies. It is unknown if all infected individuals will develop a detectable antibody response. Antibody response is different for everyone and can be influenced by genetics, age, ethnicity, chronic disease or conditions, virus variants and other factors.
- The result may be wrong, known as a false negative. This occurs when the test does not detect antibodies even though you may have specific antibodies for SARS-CoV-2.
The test results from different laboratories may vary depending on several factors such as the accuracy of the test itself, how long it may take for your body to develop antibodies after you had the coronavirus infection, or if you were infected.