What is a coronavirus antibody test?
This test checks for the presence of IgG antibodies to COVID-19 — which can be detected by taking a blood test at least 21 days after your symptoms started. It won’t tell you if you currently have an active COVID-19 infection, only if you've already been exposed.
Can this test detect antibodies from COVID-19 vaccines?
No, this test can only detect a certain type of antibodies that are present if you had a COVID-19 infection — called N-antibodies.
Why we’re offering this
Testing is a crucial part in the fight against COVID-19. We want to help in any way that we can, particularly to help ease the burden on the NHS. We also understand that people want an accurate test that can tell them if they've had COVID-19.
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What is the coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody test?
This test checks for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. Your immune system produces IgG antibodies when exposed to the coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19. These antibodies can be detected by doing a blood test at least 21 days after your symptoms start. Some people don’t show any symptoms, but this test can still detect the antibodies in your blood.
What can and can’t this test tell you?
This test can be used to tell you if you’ve had COVID-19 in the past. It can’t tell you if you currently have COVID-19 or if you can infect others. Antigen testing (nasal and throat swab) is what’s being used by the government to check if you currently have COVID-19 — we don’t offer this form of testing.
How accurate is this coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody test?
Our partner lab has validated this test on finger-prick blood samples. The Roche test used has a 99.5% sensitivity (detects a positive result correctly) and 99.8% specificity (detects a negative result correctly).
- 99.5% sensitivity: If 1000 people who’ve had COVID-19 do a test, 995 will get a positive result correctly, but 5 will get a negative result incorrectly.
- 99.8% specificity: If 1000 people who haven’t had COVID-19 do a test, 998 will get a negative result correctly, but 2 will get a positive result incorrectly.
What does CE marking mean?
CE marking means this test meets health and safety requirements within the European Economic Area (EEA).
When should I do this test?
Wait at least 21 days after your symptoms started before doing this test — if you do it too early, it can affect the accuracy of your results.
Can I do this test if I’ve never had symptoms?
Yes, you can still do this test if you haven’t had symptoms. Research suggests that up to 4 out of 5 people who’ve had COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms at all.
Who shouldn’t do this test?
Don’t do this test if you currently have symptoms of COVID-19 — this test won’t tell you if you currently have the virus. If you have symptoms, you should follow the latest government advice. The most common symptoms are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
In rare cases, you might have been infected but not have developed antibodies. This can happen if you have a disease that affects your immune function or if you take immunosuppressants.
This test isn’t available to anyone under 18 years.
Will this tell me if I’ve developed immunity to coronavirus (COVID-19)?
This test can’t tell you if you’re now immune to COVID-19. This is still a new virus, and we don’t know how long these antibodies stay in your system. It’s also unclear whether antibodies provide immunity and if they do, how long this immunity might last. So it’s important to follow national guidelines even if you test positive for antibodies.
How long do antibodies last for?
COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus. There are currently studies underway to look at how long the antibodies stay in your system and whether having antibodies provides immunity to COVID-19.
The ongoing REACT-2 study run by researchers at Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, recently found that the number of people with positive antibodies fell by around 26% over a 3 month period.
How quickly will I get the results?
Once your sample arrives at the lab, your results should be available online within 3 working days. We recommend posting your sample from Monday to Wednesday using a priority postbox to avoid postal delays. Find your nearest priority postbox
Can I buy multiple testing kits?
No, you can only buy one test per person so you’ll have to purchase tests individually. Also, the name and date of birth you input when purchasing the test has to match what’s on your returns form (part of your testing kit). If these don’t match, the lab can’t legally process the sample.
What happens if the test shows I have COVID-19 antibodies?
This test doesn’t include the doctor’s report and personalised advice we usually provide. If you need additional support, please follow the advice from the NHS and government.
Will results be shared with Public Health England?
Yes, all laboratories are required to inform Public Health England of COVID-19 antibody results. Your details and result will be securely shared with them by the lab.