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How do coronavirus antibody tests work?

Coronavirus antibody tests look for the presence antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness.  Antibodies can be reliably detected in the majority of people from 14 days after the onset of symptoms.  Antibody tests help 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.

How accurate is this coronavirus antibody test?

The Roche coronavirus antibody test has been both CE marked and approved by Public Health England (PHE). Roche states in its validation study that 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 99.81% of samples from people who did not have the SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same study. The test checks for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies, and will tell you whether antibodies have been detected but not which type of antibody.

A negative result does not exclude a current infection particularly in those who have recently been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, or in those who currently have symptoms of COVID-19, because antibodies to the virus may not have reached detectable levels at this point.

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.

On 26 May 2020 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) asked laboratories in the UK to pause testing for coronavirus antibodies using self-collect finger-prick samples so that the end-to-end testing process could be reviewed. This review is now complete and we are able to offer this test again with finger-prick collection..

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

Who should use a coronavirus antibody test?

Coronavirus antibody 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 at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms before taking an antibody test; this allows sufficient time for antibodies to reach detectable levels. If you have had no symptoms, then this test should be taken 21-28 days after the last exposure to the virus.

I am experiencing symptoms which I think may be caused by COVID-19. Should I take a coronavirus antibody 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.

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.

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 £85 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 3 working days after the lab have received it. 



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. 

Registered in England & Wales. Company Number: 9474519. Registered Office: 45 South Street, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 2JX.