As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel begins to get brighter, I’ve been getting lots of questions about COVID-19 antibodies. Specifically, many of my patients want to know: when is the right time to test for them?
It’s an important question… whether you’ve had the virus or have just been vaccinated. Because we’re all eager to see our friends and family again. And we all want to know if and when it will be safe to do so.
Unfortunately, the answers to these types of questions aren’t always out there. And I realize there’s a lot of frustration with the many unknowns in play. But it’s important to remember that all of this is new to the medical community.
The good news is, when it comes to the particulars of antibody testing, we’re beginning to get some very valuable intel…
Men have more antibodies
New research suggests that antibody tests are most sensitive among people between the ages of 40 and 59 years—and that they’re a lot more sensitive in men, compared to women.
I can vouch for this finding in my own patients. I’ve seen quite a few couples who have both had the virus. Yet only the men seemed to test positive for antibodies. Which brings me to the next scientific revelation about COVID…
It’s becoming pretty clear that women and men are experiencing the pandemic differently (from a health perspective). Men and older people are more vulnerable to the virus—and we’re now thinking that’s because men tend to have higher viral loads.
This would explain why men appear to be forming a stronger antibody response. (When it comes to my patients, I have also noticed that the men tend to have antibodies for longer.)
And the magic number is…
This study also found that the best time to test for COVID-19 antibodies appeared to be about four months after a positive nose swab test. (Which makes sense. The body needs ample time to mount an antibody response—that’s why it generally takes four weeks after the second dose of the vaccine to be fully protected.)
As for people who have been vaccinated, I recommend testing at about two months after your last injection, if you wish to do so.
Of course, one big question still remains: How long will the antibodies last?
Unfortunately, that’s one we DON’T have an answer for yet… we will just have to sit back and wait patiently for the science to roll in.
All I can say for certain (for now) is that we are at least heading in the right direction. And that you can count on me to keep you in the loop as the science trickles in—right here in my Reality Health Check e-letter and in my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter—until this crisis is finally behind us, once and for all.
“SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Tests Most Sensitive in Men, Middle Aged.” Medscape Medical News, 02/17/21. (medscape.com/viewarticle/946003)