This is a blood test that detects whether you’ve developed an immune response (antibodies), specifically focusing on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is a useful test in showing whether you have previously come into contact with the virus or not. It’s main function is highlighting any past infection, but it has some ability to check for current infection.
The previous finger prick or point of care testing (Roche, Abbot test kits) were recalled by the MHRA and are not approved at the moment as a reliable test for Covid 19 antibodies. The only type of antibody testing approved by the UK government is lab-based Antibody testing. You’ll receive the test in our pharmacy and get your results in 3 to 5 working days. Lab-based blood testing involves taking a blood sample from the arm (venous blood test) and is then sent to an approved Public health laboratory for analysis.
If you think you have had COVID please wait 21 days after recovery before you take the test or 28 days if you have had contact with someone who has COVID symptoms.
Frequently asked antibody test questions
When should I have COVID-19 antibody test?
The antibody test should ideally be done 14-21 days after your first symptoms. As the antibody test is both sensitive and specific to the IgG antibody of COVID-19, it means that a positive test result indicates you have had the virus. However, we are not yet aware of whether this will offer you any immunity to the virus – meaning that you may still be able to get the virus again. However, a negative test result, completed in the correct time frame, would indicate that you have not suffered from COVID-19 previously and could develop the infection if exposed at a later date.
What does the Antibody test look for?
This test pinpoints specific IgG antibodies, which will appear during an established immune reaction, rather than IgM antibodies which are triggered by an acute immune response and can therefore be less reliable.
How reliable is the test?
Very reliable. The test has a 97.5% accuracy.
As with any diagnostic test, there is the possibility of false-positive and negatives.
A false-positive result means the test has incorrectly detected the antibodies.
A false-negative means the kit has failed to detect the antibodies that are present in your blood.
The chances of a false-negative or false-positive result are very unlikely. However, the main reason for false results is taking the test too soon after possible infection.
This is why you need to wait for at least 21 days after recovering from a possible infection before taking the test. Or wait 28 days after being in contact with someone who has COVID-19.