Who should have the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) antibody test?
This kit is designed for use by persons aged 18 and over.
This kit should not be used by persons with bleeding or clotting disorders, those taking anti-coagulants, or by patients taking immunosuppressive drugs or undergoing chemotherapy.
Those patients wanting to know if they have had COVID-19 or been exposed to the virus and recovered. This test can help test for that.
When should the test be done?
Symptoms of Covid-19 - at least 14 days from onset (ideally 21 days).
Possibly exposed but had no symptoms (asymptomatic) - then 14 days (at the earliest) to 21 days after exposure.
An estimated 80% of Covid-19 infected patients have no symptoms or no specific Covid-19 symptoms1.
Testing too early may result in a false negative test (negative result but you have been exposed and made antibodies to Covid).
If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or had very recent exposure, the PCR swab test we offer is more appropriate.
How does the antibody test kit work?
It requires you to provide a small blood sample from a finger-prick using the kit supplied. This is collected in a special container which you post to the lab for testing. The lab analyses the sample for antibodies to the Covid-19 virus. A positive test suggests you have most likely had Covid-19 and made antibodies to it.
Here’s a link to a short video showing the technique.
What is antibody testing?
Molecular testing (PCR Swab) will identify people
with the virus. Antibody testing can tell whether a
person has been previously infected. Most patients
who recover from coronavirus have been found to
produce antibodies, but it is not yet known if an
individual with a positive result showing presence of
IgG levels following being infected with SARS-CoV-2
will be protected, either fully or partially from future
infection, or for how long protective immunity may last.
Testing should be undertaken 14 days or more
following exposure or onset of symptoms.
The incubation period of COVID-19 ranges from
between 1 to 14 days, with the majority of cases
manifesting with symptoms at 3–5 days. The most
common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness,
dry cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms
have the potential to develop into a very severe acute
respiratory illness. Evidence shows that fatality rates
increase with age, gender, body weight, ethnicity
How do I send my results to the lab?
Post it in any Royal Mail post box on the same day that the test is taken.
Do not do the test on a Saturday or Sunday to avoid a delay in it being received in the lab.
How long will it take to get the results?
The results will take 2-3 days. You will be alerted as soon as the results have been received.
How do I get the results?
You will receive an email and SMS notification when it’s done and you can login to our secure website portal to view the results. If you would like to receive an SMS with the test results, you can add your mobile number to the form which comes with your test kit and the lab will message you the results directly.
Is the test legal and approved?
Roche have an outstanding global reputation and have received CE Mark and MHRA clearance for this test.
Will the antibody test tell me if I have previously been infected?
Correct, a positive test suggests it is very likely you have been infected / exposed to Covid-19 in the past AND formed an antibody immune response.
Does a positive antibody test mean I am immune?
There is not enough scientific evidence to confirm if having antibodies means you are definitely immune.
At the time of writing, some human reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 have been confirmed in patients who had antibodies but this is extremely rare. This suggests the body usually develops significant immunity as antibody levels seem to rise in patients as viral counts drop and reinfections are very uncommon.
We also do not know how long any immunity to Covid-19 lasts. Currently research suggests antibody levels can slowly fall in people who had asymptomatic exposure. Whether this means they are more prone to reinfection is unknown.
Following the 2002 SARS virus outbreak the responsible virus SARS-CoV was studied extensively. Research showed patients with antibodies were immune over a 3 year period2. Covid-19 (SARS-Cov2) is closely related to SARS-CoV, both viruses having originated in bats.
Is the Covid-19 antibody test accurate?
The Roche Diagnostics test has specificity of 99.98% and sensitivity of 98.8%. In our opinion it is one of the best of its kind in the world and is processed at the largest private clinical laboratory in the U.K.
- No test is 100% accurate.
- Having antibodies does not imply complete immunity.
- Patients with positive Rheumatoid Factor (associated with auto-immune conditions) and those on immunosuppressant medicines or compromised immune systems, may not get an accurate result.
- You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment due to the information obtained from any test kit obtained through MedExpress.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus?
The main symptoms are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss of sense of smell or taste - this is a recently added standalone symptom suggesting possible Covid-19 infection