24 February 2021 Blog Post: A quick note on antibody testing at Santa Monica Primary Care

I have received several questions about the type of antibody testing we perform at Santa Monica Primary Care.

To date, we have sent samples out to Labcorp to test for antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein. The nucleocapsid is arranged in a helical structure and encapsulates the viral genome, thereby protecting it from the host cell environment.

This antibody test is specifically intended to test prior natural infection – and a positive result will suggest such. We have run this test in those who have reported no prior infection (generally negative, but we have had some surprises!), known prior infection (positive), one vaccine jab (negative), and two vaccine jabs (negative). We have even run it in some patients with a known prior history of natural coronavirus infection who also received the vaccine (positive result).

Vaccines elicit a response to the often mentioned spike protein. We now have the ability through LabCorp to order spike-protein specific antibody tests for those who may be interested to see if their vaccination led to a detectable antibody response. Given the strong efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (95% efficacy), one would expect that all – or nearly all – would generate antibodies.

𝗦𝗢𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 π—’π˜‚π—Ώ π—‘π—²π˜„π˜€π—Ήπ—²π˜π˜π—²π—Ώ

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