In December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases, caused by a newly identified β-corona virus, occurred in Wuhan, China.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is an enveloped virus with a single-stranded RNA genome and is a member of the Coronaviridae (CoV) family which causes predominantly respiratory illness.
But how does your immune system react when the virus enters your body?
1. The invasion. Once viral particles enter your body, they invade cells and start replicating, creating millions of copies of themselves.
2. Cue the immune system. Immune cells (white blood cells) patrol your bloodstream looking for foreign substances known as antigens, which can include viruses, bacteria, or chemicals. When an antigen is detected, your immune cells sound the alarm to alert the body of the antigen present.
3. It’s going time. The immune system triggers a response to attack the foreign invader, which often leads to a fever, body aches, and the production of antibodies that fight the antigens.
4. The A-team. Antibodies are proteins produced in response to a specific foreign invader, an antigen. The IgM antibody is assembled first as the body actively fights the infection. Then the IgG antibody is created, after the acute infection.
Having enough of the right kinds of antibodies can often keep you from getting sick with the same virus more than once. Again, we need science to tell us what this means for COVID-19.
These tests look for the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV 2
A positive result means that IgG/IgM antibodies are detected in the blood indicating that it is highly likely that you have been infected with coronavirus in the past.
A negative result means that it is very unlikely that you have been infected with the virus in the past. You may get a negative result if you take the test too soon i.e before the antibodies have reached detectable levels.
The coronavirus has taken the world by a storm and various scientists and experts are working day and night to uncover more and more information about it. Further study and investigation will unravel the behavioral patterns of the virus, allowing researchers to build a vaccine soon.