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Worth having a private antibody test?

(22 Posts)
Serendipper Sat 08-Aug-20 23:35:58

My son (2.5) developed a temp on 13th March, myself and my husband then had a cough/cold type of illness. I lost my sense of smell and taste for a few days and my son developed conjunctivitis. I found I was breathless and my chest hurt for a few days and then it all went away.

We isolated as soon as we realised and thankfully no family members had any symptoms like we did.

I was around 10 weeks pregnant at the time and I’m now 32 weeks (baby is mostly fine but has an enlarged kidney which I’m due to be scanned for soon)

Does this sound like it could have been covid? None of us felt that unwell and certainly no where near needing medical/hospital support.

I would like to book a private bupa antibody test (£65) possibly just to have an answer to my question, to have some reassurance that we did have it and therefore may be at less risk of getting it again and to be able to alert my midwife if there’s a chance the baby may have been affected. I would also feel reassured that I could pass antibodies on to my newborn while breastfeeding.

Would you have the test?

OP’s posts: |
mosquitofeast Sat 08-Aug-20 23:36:55

no point, antibodies don't last that long

LouiseTrees Sat 08-Aug-20 23:38:07

There’s nothing yet saying you can’t catch it twice, how long the antibodies last for etc. I would however suggest you get it done so as to inform your midwife re the baby.

MyOtherProfile Sat 08-Aug-20 23:40:21

mosquitofeast

no point, antibodies don't last that long

This is what nobody knows. It's possible the antibodies last a life time so once you have Covid you are always immune, or its possible they last a short time and people will think they're safe when they're not.

par05 Sat 08-Aug-20 23:41:45

Saying that one of my sils who works at a surgery had a antibody test and came back positive! We thought back in april she had had covid, so they did pick up on that, I work in a pharmacy had my test and it came back negative which I had not been ill or exposed to covid so was expected.

mosquitofeast Sun 09-Aug-20 01:04:24

This is what nobody knows. It's possible the antibodies last a life time so once you have Covid you are always immune, or its possible they last a short time and people will think they're safe when they're not.

but many people who have tested positive for covid have gone on to test negative for antibodies a couple of months later.

A pharmacist who administers the antibody test told me that fewer than 1 in 10 confirmed covid patients still have antibodies after 3 months

LemonadeAndDaisyChains Sun 09-Aug-20 01:29:21

I'm pretty certain I had it the end of last year, severe symptoms of everything covid and was really ill. Chest x-rays, heart scans, the lot. Doctors baffled.
Now absolutely fine (only recently started getting back to normal though, around May!)
Would love a test but don't qualify for one and not sure how accurate they'd be anyway.

SamsMumsCateracts Sun 09-Aug-20 01:55:50

My sister had Covid at the end of feb, caught from a confirmed case who'd come back from a trip in China and ended up in intensive care. She tested a strong positive for antibodies this week, 6 months after being ill.

Emeraldshamrock Sun 09-Aug-20 01:59:10

Would an antibody test show any signs if the person was asymptomatic.

pinkprosseco Sun 09-Aug-20 02:02:18

I'm not sure it will provide any answers. I had the antibody test through work and it came back negative but we were fairly sure we'd had Covid in February as had dramatic loss of sense of smell / taste and fatigue. At the end of the day even if we had tested positive they warn you it does not guarantee protection from future infection and you have to carry on taking precautions same as everyone.

sirfredfredgeorge Sun 09-Aug-20 10:02:54

A pharmacist who administers the antibody test told me that fewer than 1 in 10 confirmed covid patients still have antibodies after 3 months

Remember that is "have enough antibodies to be positive for antibodies in the current commercial antibody tests", rather than "don't have antibodies". We know chicken pox protection lasts for decades but chicken pox antibody tests are not guaranteed to be positive after either protection from the vaccine or a case.

mosquitofeast Sun 09-Aug-20 10:11:09

sirfredfredgeorge

*A pharmacist who administers the antibody test told me that fewer than 1 in 10 confirmed covid patients still have antibodies after 3 months*

Remember that is "have enough antibodies to be positive for antibodies in the current commercial antibody tests", rather than "don't have antibodies". We know chicken pox protection lasts for decades but chicken pox antibody tests are not guaranteed to be positive after either protection from the vaccine or a case.

I didn't know that.

However, it is not terribly reassuring, as chicken pox can resurge in the form of shingles an unlimited number of times.

I hope it doesn't transpire that covid can do something like that

Purplewithred Sun 09-Aug-20 10:11:22

The test might tell you that you have enough antibodies left for it to find them, but it might not + nobody knows what the antibodies do or don't do yet.

If it's for your own interest and you can afford it and you understand that the results are no more than interesting then by all means go ahead.

Maybe join this app to feed into the research too covid.joinzoe.com/faq

cptartapp Sun 09-Aug-20 10:24:00

I had a positive antibody test through work two months ago. Haven't really been unwell. It doesn't change anything, doesn't change all the ppe I have to wear for work. Don't even know if I still have them.
I wouldn't bother.

Chosennone Sun 09-Aug-20 10:24:58

I have a relative who had a positive covid test in April, she was completely asymptomatic, as was her partner who also tested positive. She only had a test as over 60, underlying issues and worked in a care home with a number of cases.

The Zoe App offered her an antibody test last week and she tested positive for antibodies.

WFHWFH2020 Sun 09-Aug-20 10:26:46

@mosquitofeast I’ve been likening it to chicken pox when talking to people too, people think you can’t get that twice but in fact 13% of people can and as you say shingles in another complication.

soloula Sun 09-Aug-20 10:35:24

There was an interesting article in the NY Times last month about antibodies and waning immunity and how commercial tests might be coming up negative despite a known positive test for covid previously as they are testing the wrong antibodies (or not the best antibodies).

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/26/health/coronvirus-antibody-tests.html

Muchtoomuchtodo Sun 09-Aug-20 10:38:41

I doubt it’ll change anything in terms of your management in hospital, and a positive result does change anything in terms of how we adhere to the guidelines but it could cause you more stress and anxiety.
Have a good think about what you want from this.

Number3or4 Sun 09-Aug-20 11:11:46

My local pharmacy is doing the antibody test for £40. I asked because I was interested in testing ds1 as he had a fever and a cough back in February. But I changed my mind after getting home.

sirfredfredgeorge Sun 09-Aug-20 13:05:03

However, it is not terribly reassuring, as chicken pox can resurge in the form of shingles an unlimited number of times.

but this is unrelated to the presence of antibodies, remember shingles is the re-appearance of the virus it is not a new case - although it's possible that having more antibodies to the virus due to constant exposure to new chickenpox virus reduces the chance of shingles. Either way, you should not be concerned about this wrt to COVID, it's just to illustrate that the test for antibodies is not a simple binary yes/no, you actually need to have a test that can find them.

mosquitofeast Sun 09-Aug-20 13:13:15

yes, I suppose so. My imagination is now running riot though shock

Mjstjs Sun 09-Aug-20 17:10:42

I wouldn’t liken Covid to chickenpox and shingles per se. Shingles is the reactivation of herpes zoster virus that is dormant in nerve cells. Why it reactivates isn’t fully clear though there are hypotheses. No previously coronavirus is known to lie dormant and reactivate in this way, not saying it couldn’t happen with this one but from what we know it is unlikely. It is also comparing a DNA virus with an RNA virus and these act differently in general. Whether Covid infection leading to an antibody response will achieve long term immunity to the disease is unknown at the moment. But shingles after chicken pox is different to catching coronavirus again.
With regards to antibody testing at the moment we have problems with:
1. Commercial tests not all being of high quality leading to false negatives
2. Unclear how long the immunity lasts thus very little meaning for an individual at the moment. Good for studying prevalence of the disease (although point 1 could be skewing the data) but unlikely to change how an individual is managed atm.

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