What Is the Antibody Response and Role in Conferring Natural Immunity After SARS-CoV-2 Infection? Rapid, Living Practice Points From the American College of Physicians (Version 1) Academic Article uri icon

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  • DESCRIPTION: The widespread availability of SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests raises important questions for clinicians, patients, and public health professionals related to the appropriate use and interpretation of these tests. The Scientific Medical Policy Committee (SMPC) of the American College of Physicians developed these rapid, living practice points to summarize the current and best available evidence on the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody durability after initial infection with SARS-CoV-2, and antibody protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: The SMPC developed these rapid, living practice points based on a rapid and living systematic evidence review done by the Portland VA Research Foundation and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Ongoing literature surveillance is planned through December 2021. When new studies are identified and a full update of the evidence review is published, the SMPC will assess the new evidence and any effect on the practice points. PRACTICE POINT 1: Do not use SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. PRACTICE POINT 2: Antibody tests can be useful for the purpose of estimating community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. PRACTICE POINT 3: Current evidence is uncertain to predict presence, level, or durability of natural immunity conferred by SARS-CoV-2 antibodies against reinfection (after SARS-CoV-2 infection).


  • Qaseem, Amir
  • Yost, Jennifer
  • Etxeandia-Ikobaltzeta, Itziar
  • Forciea, Mary Ann
  • Abraham, George M
  • Miller, Matthew C
  • Obley, Adam J
  • Humphrey, Linda L

publication date

  • June 2021