Covid vaccine recipients do not need an antibody test after being vaccinated against Covid-19, according to LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter.
“At the moment, there’s no recommendation to do that. We still have to understand a lot more about the vaccines, know what to measure, how to measure,” Schechter told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
The immune system produces antibodies when there is a foreign pathogen and helps them fight infection. Antibody tests are being conducted to detect whether someone was previously infected with the coronavirus.
As Covid vaccines are being provided to millions of people, people are asking about the role antibody tests could play in knowing whether Covid vaccine recipients are producing an immune response. The vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech appeared more than 94% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.
For instance, in December, Roche was given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a test that identifies antibodies against the coronavirus’ spike protein. At the time, Roche insisted that the antibody test can impact someone who was vaccinated against Covid.
“Many current candidate vaccines aim to induce an antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein,” the company said. “Tests that quantify antibodies to the spike protein could be used to measure the level of that response and track that measurement over time.”
“Since the start of this pandemic, our focus has been to bring effective diagnostic testing solutions to the fight against Covid-19,” Roche Diagnostics’ CEO Thomas Schinecker said in a press release in December.
“Antibody tests like these will play a critical role in measuring a person’s vaccine-induced immune response,” he added.
Schechter noted that post-vaccination antibody tests could play a role in the future, but he said “there’s still a lot more we have to learn.”
“In the future, it may make sense to look at antibodies. It may make sense to look at T-cells,” he said. “At the moment, as many people should get vaccinated as quickly as possible, and there’s no recommendation to get an additional blood test afterwards,” he added.
In a study released in November, researchers discovered that immunity to coronavirus may last for at least five months and may even last longer than that.
According to the researchers, there is more than one wave of infection control in the human body, and that 90% of people who recover from coronavirus infections develop a stable overall immunity.
Leader researcher Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said: “While some reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, we have found just the opposite — that more than 90% of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months.”
“This is essential for effective vaccine development,” Krammer argued.
In response to an infection, human bodies produce an army of immune compounds, with some overwhelming at first but die off quickly, while others develop more slowly.
The researchers pointed out that measurements indicating a decreasing antibody response in the first months after infection might be measuring this first wave while the second wave of antibodies is being built up in the background.