HSMC has started doing a new laboratory test to help estimate how many people in the United Arab Emirates have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Clinicians and researchers refer to this as a serology test.
An antibody test looks for the presence of antibodies, which are specific proteins made in response to infections. Antibodies are detected in the blood of people who are tested after infection; they show an immune response to the infection. Antibody test results are especially important for detecting previous infections in people who had few or no symptoms.
We do not know if the antibodies that result from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide someone with protection (immunity) from getting infected again. If antibodies do provide immunity, we don’t know how much antibody is protective or how long protection might last.