Skip to main content

What is antibody testing and how can I be tested?


Antibody testing is different than diagnostic testing for COVID-19.  

Antibodies can be found in the blood and in other tissues days or weeks after being infected with a virus. This can be useful to understand how illness affects the population as a whole, but it cannot be used to diagnose individuals or predict whether you may be protected from a future COVID-19 infection. 


What we know:

  • The FDA has approved several antibody tests. There are also several tests on the market that have not been approved.
  • There are places in Michigan offering antibody testing, but there is no information about which test is being used, or if they may be using an unapproved test.
  • An antibody test cannot help your doctor decide how to treat you or if it safe to return to work.

What we don't know:

  • How good the current antibody tests are at detecting COVID-19 in individuals.
  • If detection of antibodies means you have had COVID-19, or if it will detect other coronaviruses (like the common cold) that you may have had in the past.
  • If detection of antibodies means you can still spread COVID-19.
  • If detection of antibodies means you are immune to COVID-19.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, like cough, fever and shortness of breath, you should contact your doctor and seek testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 can ensure you get the right medical treatment, unlike antibody testing.

You can find antibody testing sites at If you choose to do so, please understand the limitations of antibody testing and continue to protect yourself regardless of the result.