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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ANTIBODY TEST

The coronavirus antibody home blood test is a new laboratory test that measures the level of antibodies in your blood. It is called the Roche Anti-SARS-CoV-2-S coronavirus antibody test. You can use this test to monitor your antibody levels over time so that you can record your own unique response to the virus or the vaccine. 

Your result will lie on a scale between 0.4 units per millilitre (U/ml) and 2,500 U/ml. A result below 0.8 U/ml means that the lab did not find antibodies in your sample. A result above 0.8 U/ml means that antibodies were detected, so you likely have had coronavirus (or have been vaccinated).

It is possible to get a result below 0.8 U/ml even if you have had a coronavirus infection in the past. This could be because you only experienced mild (or non-existent) symptoms. It could also be because your body responded to the virus using different parts of your immune system. 

There is also a higher chance of a negative result if you take this test too soon after becoming infected with coronavirus or being vaccinated. This is because your body may not have had time to produce antibodies. We recommend waiting at least three weeks after a known infection or vaccination before taking this test. 

At the moment we do not know what constitutes a high, low or average level of antibodies in the population. However, as a guide, NHS Blood and Transplant are targeting people who have antibody levels higher than 62 U/ml to donate plasma to help in the treatment of people who are ill with coronavirus. This doesn’t mean that if you have lower levels than this you won’t be protected against coronavirus. However we don’t know at what level of antibodies protection occurs. This test enables you to track your levels of antibodies over time, to see how quickly they decline after a positive coronavirus test or receiving the vaccine.

A number of studies have shown that coronavirus antibodies remain in the blood for at least 6-8 months for most people. For some people (particularly those who had no symptoms), antibody levels may decline more quickly.

Your anonymised data may be used to help UK public health agencies (including Public Health England) and other organisations understand the spread of coronavirus within the UK population.

Accuracy

From 21 days after a positive diagnosis (the earliest point at which we recommend testing), the test returned a positive result in 98.3% of cases.  After 28 days, sensitivity is 100%, based on Roche’s study.

Roche used 5,991 negative samples (which were collected before October 2019). The test produced only one false-positive result – giving the test a specificity of 99.98%.

This test may not accurately detect antibodies in people who have compromised immune systems because their antibody response may be slower or weakened. This includes people with immunodeficiency diseases, infections such as HIV, or those who take medications that suppress the immune system. This may also affect the sensitivity and specificity of the test. 

A negative antibody result cannot exclude a current infection. If you have been recently exposed to a coronavirus (such as SARS-CoV or COVID-19) the level of antibodies in your blood may not have yet reached levels which are high enough for this test to detect.

Can I take my COVID antibody test sample at home?

Yes. We are now able to offer a coronavirus antibody test with a finger-prick sample collection kit. You can take your own blood sample in the comfort of your home and post it to the laboratory in the envelope  provided. Please note – this is not an at-home rapid detection test that will give you an immediate result.

The laboratory test is manufactured by Roche, a global diagnostics company, and is CE-marked for use with capillary blood samples – i.e. a sample taken using a finger prick . Our sample collection kit is also CE marked.

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

Will a coronavirus antibody test tell me if I have a current infection?

No. This test detects antibodies which are produced some time after an individual becomes infected or vaccinated.

How to request a test

Please note you must be at least 18 years old to purchase a test kit and to provide a sample for testing

You do not need to visit the clinic to obtain your home test kit

  • Telephone Jenhams Clinic or email us with the following information:

Your name, address, date of birth, mobile telephone number and email address

  • A registered nurse will discuss the test and answer any further questions you may have.
  • We will request payment of £72 prior to sending the home testing kit. An invoice will be emailed to you directly. Please pay by bank transfer as we are currently unable to take credit card payments over the phone.
  • As soon as payment is received we will arrange a home testing kit to be sent to your home.
  • Clear and precise instructions are contained in the kit. Please follow them exactly.
  • Return your completed sample as instructed to the laboratory ensuring you use a Priority Postbox.
  • Your result will be emailed to you from Jenhams Clinic approximately 2 working days after the lab have received it. 

IMPORTANT-POSTING YOUR SAMPLE TO THE LAB

 

Royal Mail is not accepting any Covid-19 samples at post office counters or non-priority postboxes. All samples must be posted in a priority postbox. 

This is because the postal workers collecting from prioty postboxes have the proper PPE in order to safely handle the samples. Your return envelope will have a sticker identifying it as a Covid-19 sample. These postboxes are clearly labelled. 

You can find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail website. 


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