Coronavirus Antibody Blood Test
Our Coronavirus IgG Antibody blood test is a CE-marked laboratory test. Collect your sample at home, post it to the lab and get results online within days.
CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODY TESTING FAQs
What kind of test is this?
This test looks for the presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Antibodies are produced by the body’s immune system during COVID-19 and start to become detectable around 7 days after symptoms start and increase over time. Antibodies can be reliably detected in the majority of people from 14 days after the onset of symptoms. We advise taking the test 21 days after the onset of symptoms. This is because our laboratory has reported a slight increase in the chances of finding detectable antibodies in samples taken between 17 and 21 days after the onset of symptoms. This test helps to establish whether someone has had COVID-19 and is now producing antibodies to the virus.
Does a positive antibody test mean that I now have immunity to COVID-19?
We do not yet know whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the blood provides any lasting immunity to future infection or any protection at all. We expect to learn more about the extent and duration of any potential immunity over the coming months.
If I have a positive coronavirus antibody test result, do I still need to follow the government guidelines for social distancing?
Yes, until we understand more about the virus and whether the presence of antibodies means that you can’t catch it again, it is important that you follow all the recommended guidelines.
How is the test carried out?
The test is performed on a blood sample by our UKAS-accredited laboratory partners using a CE-marked antibody test. It is a laboratory test using chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) technology, developed by a global medical devices manufacturer and health care company. The fact that it is CE-marked means that it conforms with European standards for the design and manufacture of such tests.
How accurate is the test?
The manufacturer states that in its validation study the test detected antibodies in 100% of confirmed coronavirus cases when the sample was taken at least 14 days after symptoms first developed. The test produced a negative result in 99.6% of samples from people who did not have the SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same study.
Why has Medichecks decided to sell a Coronavirus antibody test?
We have been working closely with our partner laboratories to find an antibody test which is both accurate and available at scale. While other tests have been available for a few weeks, we wanted to wait for a reliable test before offering it to members of the public.
Is it the same as the at-home rapid detection antibody tests?
No, this is a test where you collect a finger prick blood sample at home in a small vial and post it to our UKAS-accredited laboratory for analysis. Once the laboratory receives the blood sample, your result should be available within 3 working days. So far, none of the rapid detection tests have been able to achieve the levels of accuracy claimed by the manufacturer of this laboratory test.
Does the Medichecks home sample collection kit comply with the regulations?
Yes. Medichecks is registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as a manufacturer for the purpose of assembling its finger prick sample collection kit. MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care and is responsible for ensuring that medical devices work and are acceptably safe. We assemble our kits from different components, the key elements of which are CE-marked for use in the EU.
Could there be false positive results?
Most tests that look for antibodies will return a small percentage of false-positive results. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 they may occur because antibodies to other viruses in the coronavirus family potentially react with the components in the SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests. In the validation study conducted by the manufacturer about 1 test in every 200 on samples from people not infected with coronavirus returned a positive result.
Could there be false negative results?
This coronavirus antibody test was 100% sensitive in its validation study. This means that it correctly detected antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in all samples from people with a confirmed coronavirus infection and who were tested at least 14 days after the onset of symptoms. If you test before this time, you may get a negative result even if you are infected, because your antibodies may not yet have reached detectable levels.
How does it work?
Once you have placed your order, we will send you a finger-prick blood sample collection kit in the post to your home or to your chosen address. When you are ready to take your sample, you must first activate your kit on the Medichecks website. This is an important step which ensures that the laboratory knows which result belongs to you. Once you have collected your sample, simply post it back to our laboratory in the Royal Mail Tracked envelope provided. 2-3 days after the lab receives your sample your result will be displayed on your Medichecks dashboard along with advice from a Medichecks doctor. At-home finger-prick blood testing is a tried and tested methodology which Medichecks has been using for many years.
Can I buy more than one test at a time?
Yes. We recognise that many of you will want to buy coronavirus antibody tests for your household or even for a small business. We send the test kits to the address you specify for you to distribute. Each person taking a test must activate their test kit online before using it. This means that the laboratory will link the test result to the person taking the test. If test kits are sent to the lab without activating first, then we will not be able to process the result.
Who should use this test?
This test is appropriate for anyone who wants to know whether they have had COVID-19. People who have had a mild or moderate form of the disease, or who have been exposed to COVID-19 but didn’t experience symptoms at all, may want to know whether they previously had the virus. It is important to wait 21 days from the onset of symptoms before taking this test; this allows sufficient time for antibodies to reach detectable levels. If you have had no symptoms, then this test should be taken 28 days after the last exposure to the virus.
I am experiencing symptoms which I think may be caused by COVID-19. Should I take this test?
No. This test is only for people who want to know if they were infected with coronavirus in the past. If you are experiencing symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath or high temperature you should isolate yourself at home and seek guidance from NHS 111.
How can companies use this test?
This test can be used by companies or organisations that want to find out whether any of their employees have already had COVID-19. It is not known yet whether the presence of antibodies confers immunity to coronavirus in the future.
Can I buy a test for my children?
Unfortunately, this test can only be used by adults aged 18 and over.
Can I buy a test if I live outside of the UK?
No. Unfortunately our service is only available for people who reside in the UK.
Will this test tell me if I have a current infection?
No. This test detects antibodies which are produced some time after an individual becomes infected.
What is a PCR test?
Most tests conducted for COVID-19 to date are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which look for genetic (RNA) fragments of the virus itself. These swab tests are used to collect samples from the nose and throat in drive-through testing centres which have been set up for front-line NHS and other key workers. These tests look for an active infection. A positive PCR test means that you currently have the virus and are potentially infectious to others.
Why doesn’t Medichecks sell a PCR swab test?
We have decided not to sell an at-home swab test for COVID-19 because of the challenges of completing self-collect swab samples. The swab needs to be inserted deep into the nose and towards the back of the throat for a reliable sample to be collected. If the sample isn’t taken correctly, the chances of a false negative result (being told that you are not infected, when in fact you are) are unacceptably high.
CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODY BLOOD TEST
We’re a medically-led company with a team of qualified doctors and pathology experts. Our coronavirus antibody test is manufactured by a leading global laboratory test manufacturer and your sample will be analysed at a UKAS-accredited laboratory in the UK.