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What is the correct test for CLL patients to request for determining whether they have produced antibodies after receiving three COVID vaccines?

Ask the Doctor Question:

What is the correct test for CLL patients to request for determining whether they have produced antibodies after receiving three COVID vaccines? I was told to go to my primary care provider for the test. Is the SARS 2 lgG & lgMab the correct test?

Answer: No that is not the correct test. That one will probably just say yes or no that you have antibodies. You need the one that measures HOW MANY antibodies are in your system, which is typically called the COVID-19 Semi-quantitative antibody test (sometimes labs will add in the word spike protein because it measures specifically that).

If you cannot get your physician to agree to measure your antibody response, then you can go to a LabCorp (if you have a location near you) and have one done for $10. You do have to create an account with them, but after doing so you can order the test for yourself without a physician’s order. Here is the link to do that: https://patient.labcorp.com/covid-19-antibody-test

The problem we often run into is that since the CDC does not recommend routine testing of antibody levels after receiving the vaccine, many doctors will not go along with ordering them. However, with CLL since we now know that many have not mounted any sort of response to the vaccines and have not been told that they may not have worked, several have exposed themselves to COVID while thinking they had some level of protection. So, it is a unique set of circumstances, and certainly does not hurt anything to have a rough idea of whether or not your immune system mounted a response or not. If you have had a booster recently (which hopefully you have), you should wait four weeks to have your antibody level drawn.

We wrote a couple of articles on this topic where we gathered input from top CLL experts that you could share with them from our website:

  1. https://cllsociety.org/2021/05/more-opinions-on-the-vaccines-and-testing-for-antibodies-for-cll-chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-patients-from-drs-skarbnik-and-kay/
  2. https://cllsociety.org/2021/05/monitoring-vaccination-effectiveness-for-preventing-sars-cov-2-infection-and-covid-19-syndrome-in-cll-a-data-poor-but-opinion-rich-discussion/