At-home antibody tests can help determine if individuals have adequate immunity against COVID-19 and potentially guide decisions on the need for booster shots.

RT’s Three Key Takeaways:

  • Guiding Booster Decisions: A new study suggests that at-home antibody tests can help individuals, especially those at high risk, decide if they need a COVID-19 booster shot by identifying waning immunity.
  • High Accuracy: The study found that a negative result on an at-home antibody test accurately reflects inadequate immunity, as confirmed by extensive lab tests.
  • Potential for Future Pandemics: Similar to at-home antigen tests, at-home antibody tests could become a valuable tool in managing immunity and vaccination needs in future viral pandemics, according to the researchers.

By late in the pandemic more than 96% of individuals in the United States ages 16 and older had COVID-19 antibodies from infection or vaccination. However, immunity from the virus tends to wane over time. Uptake of the boosters has been quite low, meaning that over time the current high levels of protection will dissipate.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, at-home antigen tests became widely accepted for detecting infection. In a new joint study by the George Washington University, the University of North Carolina, and others, researchers looked into the benefits of using at-home antibody tests to detect immunity and to make decisions about the need for a COVID-19 booster shot—something that may be of particularly relevance for those at high risk for poor outcomes from COVID infection. 

Home Antibody Tests Reveal Waning Immunity

In the study, published in Science Advances, the researchers found that a negative result on an “at-home” antibody test indicates inadequate immunity as reflected in an extensive and sophisticated battery of Covid immune tests performed by highly specialized academic/industry labs at various centers around the country.

“Our research suggests that an antibody test taken at home will allow at-risk individuals to conveniently identify inadequate immunity to COVID-19—in a world in which population immunity is declining, “ says co-author John Lafleur, MD, PhD, professor of emergency management at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in a release. “This can be important information for those who are considering booster vaccination, but question whether or not it is needed. In addition, as with home antigen testing, home antibody tests may be another useful tool in any future viral pandemic.”

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