Antibody testing is how you can tell if a past illness was COVID-19, reports WETM 18 News. When your body is exposed to the virus, it creates antibodies to fight off the infection. Antibodies are also produced when you receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but current tests can differentiate between these two types of antibodies.
Antibodies against the nucleocapsid (N) are produced by prior infection, whereas antibodies against the spike protein (S) are produced through vaccination. If your test results come back with N-type antibodies, you have been previously infected. If results show S-type antibodies but no N-type, then you have been vaccinated but not infected.
The CDC notes that N-type antibodies do not develop immediately upon infection- Rather, they may takes weeks after exposure to develop.
“CDC is evaluating antibody protection and how long protection from antibodies might last,” says the agency. “Cases of reinfection and infection after vaccination have been reported, but remain rare. But getting vaccinated, even if you have already had COVID-19, can help your body make more of these antibodies.”
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