Out: Counting carbs. In: Counting antibodies

The wealthy apparently have a new metric for bragging rights: COVID-19 antibodies. 

A New York Times article notes the well-heeled are getting themselves tested — and retested — to see how their immune response to the illness is holding up. 

The story mentions one of these folks, successful 46-year-old New York City entrepreneur Juhi Singh, who was set to jet to the Amalfi Coast with her family members. But before that, she had her driver take her to a concierge medical service to have her antibodies checked. 

Singh was vaccinated in February, and wanted to make sure her immune system was topped off before the five-star trip. 

“A lot of my patients and some of my friends are counting their antibodies,” Singh tells the paper. “It’s the Upper East Side, the Hamptons circles. It’s like dinner conversation at this point. It almost feels like counting calories.”

The kicker is, like many trendy health practices, counting your antibody levels doesn’t really hold water scientifically. 

While people who have recovered from COVID and those who have been vaccinated both enjoy COVID-19 protection, that immunity doesn’t necessarily scale into the numbers Singh and others have been counting.

Professor Arthur Caplan, with New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, notes, “The doctors who are promoting them are not promoting good science. I think they are putting their patient at risk, because there are no agreed upon antibody levels.”

That’s not stopping other private companies from offering quick antibody testing to those are willing to pay, with some even offering drive-thru, finger-prick testing.