Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.
With the new COVID19 Antibody Test hitting the market like wildfire, most people are curious to know what function it serves. What is IgM and IgG? These are terms you’ve been hearing around the internet in the recent news. Let’s discuss exactly what they are in detail
IgM antibodies are usually the first antibodies produced by the immune system when a virus attacks. A positive IgM test indicates that you may have been infected and that your immune system has started responding to the virus. When IgM is detected you may still be infected, or you may have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection. IgM is also molecularly larger than IgG.
IgG antibodies develop in most patients approximately 7 to 10 days, sometimes longer, after symptoms of COVID-19 begin. IgG antibodies remain in the blood after an infection has passed. These antibodies indicate that you may have had COVID-19 in the recent past and have developed antibodies that may protect you from future infection. It is unknown at this point how much protection antibodies might provide against reinfection.
This kind of testing is important because it determines whether or not we can alleviate the shutdown and restart the economy. It also can serve as vital epidemiological data to study the disease in more detail because the more we know, the better prepared we can be if a second wave of infections should occur.