We have had several questions from our patients with autoimmune diseases regarding antibody testing. The first thing to be aware of is that there are two different antibody tests. The initial testing that labs offered is called the Total Nucleocapsid Qualitative Test. This testing is to measure the antibody that the body generates when exposed to the actual COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). It does not measure antibodies produced from having a vaccine. The second antibody test is for the Total Spike Quantitative Antibody Test and this measures antibodies made in response to being vaccinated. Some labs are offering a panel of both antibodies, where others only have the initial antibody test.
It is important to know that it is not known what level of antibody to the spike protein is needed to provide protection from developing symptomatic COVID-19 disease. This testing is an out-of-pocket expense. Before considering an antibody test, speak to your specialist to see if this will provide any valuable information in managing your care.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.