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The hope is that people with antibodies to COVID-19 can safely get back to work, and normal life, quicker.
Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight infections like viruses and may help to ward off future occurrences by those same infections. Antibodies can take days or weeks to develop in the body following exposure to a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection and it is unknown how long they stay in the blood.
A positive antibody test does not necessarily mean you are immune from SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it is not known whether having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will protect you from getting infected again. It also does not indicate whether you can infect other people with SARS-CoV-2.
There are several reasons why negative antibody test results do not indicate with certainty that you do not have or have not had an infection with SARS-CoV-2. For example, if you are tested soon after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the test may be negative, because it takes time for the body to develop an antibody response. It is also unknown if antibody levels decline over time to undetectable levels.
Researchers are studying how antibodies in plasma donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 might help those who are ill with the virus. Early research shows that this plasma may help sick people get better faster.