Thinking of getting a COVID-19 antibody test? Here's what you should know

Data from antibody tests help track the spread of the coronavirus - but they have limitations.
Antibody tests are seen as a valuable tool in helping medical experts in the battle against COVID-19.

But the process also has limitations.

EveryDay Healthcare in Fresno, California is one of the latest clinics to unveil its capability to conduct testing for COVID-19 antibodies.

Blood samples taken there are sent to major national lab company Quest Diagnostics to be analyzed.

Many people who've been sick in the past have questions.

"Were you exposed to a positive case, did you go through the quarantine for 14 days but now feel better, have no symptoms and now you want to find out if you have antibodies?" says Gilbert Bustos.

Data from antibody tests help track the spread of the coronavirus but that information is limited.

With several companies offering FDA-approved antibody tests, experts say it can be difficult to validate results.

"There's no single test that's the perfect one to compare to show that this one is the gold standard and it performs as well as that," says Dr. Jessica Mason.

Bustos says many insurance companies cover the cost of the test. If you don't have insurance, it would cost $95 for the office visit. You'd also get a $55 bill from Quest.

"It's really a good helpful tool to find out if you ever had it. If they come back positive, they have antibodies,which helps to determine whether the can return to work, go back to school."

But false positives are a real concern because you could have been exposed to a different coronavirus and return to life as normal, thinking you're protected.

"It is also not necessarily the Holy Grail. It's going to give us very valuable information but we have to remember the limitations. You may have antibodies and have a negative test. You also may not have antibodies and have a positive test," says Dr. Mason.

Dr. Mason adds that even if you do have COVID-19 antibodies, it is not known whether or not you can be re-infected.
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