Special Report

17 Health Questions About COVID-19 Answered

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7. How long does it take for the body to develop antibodies?

It takes the body somewhere between seven and 21 days after the onset of symptoms to develop antibodies, according to Siedner. Therefore, if the test is taken too early, “[the results] may look negative even if you’ve already been exposed.”

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8. How do you know when it’s safe to discontinue home isolation?

The latest CDC guidelines recommend 10 days after the onset of symptoms for people who never develop symptoms. For patients with severe illness, home isolation may have to last for up to 20 days after symptom onset. People may test positive (antigen PCR test) for up to six weeks after the first symptoms show up, but it’s still unknown whether they can spread the virus during the entire time.

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9. Does the virus mutate enough to evade the immune system?

“This virus has a couple features that makes me think it does not mutate that much.” It actually has a proof-reading enzyme, which helps control its genetic duplication in a way that makes it less-likely to make errors when it mutates, Siedner explained. The virus does changing, but much more slowly than it spreads. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about coronavirus mutations, and there is no proof that any change in SARS-CoV-2 should raise public health concerns.

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