COVID-19 Testing - Understanding the Results

COVID-19 TESTING – Understanding your results

So you’ve decided to get tested for COVID-19 to see if you’ve had exposure to the virus. Now your results are in and so many questions arise. What does it mean if I’m positive? What’s the difference between IgM and IgG? Am I a risk to others if I’m positive? Am I at risk if I’m negative? This page is intended to give you an education on what the results mean.

Understanding Antibodies

Antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, are protective proteins in the blood produced by the immune system in response to a foreign substance (in this case 4 proteins found in COVID-19), called an antigen. Antibodies recognize and latch onto antigens in order to remove them from the body. A wide range of substances are regarded as antigens by the body, including virus, bacteria, allergens and toxic substances.

There are 5 classes of antibodies that express themselves in different ways. The COVID-19 test we are using measures two of them IgM and IgG.

An antibody test should (operative word) conclusively tell you if you have or haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, based on whether antibodies are present. (You develop them within 5 to 20 days of being infected, so testing too early can result in a false negative.)

Understanding Your Results 

Positive IgM results to any of the four proteins indicates that there has been exposure to those proteins recently, in the past 5-30 days.

Positive IgG results to any of the four proteins indicates that there has been exposure to those proteins in the past,  20+ days, and your immune system has a memory of those invaders/antigens.

Negative results indicate likely no exposure to COVID-19. If, however, you were exposed the week before testing you may receive a false negative.

Knowing whether you have antibodies can help identify those who have potentially developed immunity compared to those who don’t have antibodies and might be susceptible to infection. There is also a psychological benefit in getting tested, particularly for those who have recovered well. Knowing you’ve successfully fought the infection can alleviate fear and give you more confidence in your immune system’s ability to function under the circumstances. However, no matter what the results may reveal it is still important to practice social distancing, wear a mask out in public, and work daily to boost your immunity.

At this time COVID-19 is here and we must learn to live with it. The goal we are aiming to achieve is to empower people to make informed decisions—for themselves, but also in the best interest of our community. It is our intention at Align to be a fixture of support and education helping people take their health to a powerful new level.

For information on how to boost your immune system against COVID-19 please check out our BLOG page


Dr. Niele Maimone, DC

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