What is Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause
illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known
to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe
diseases. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the
nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people
then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their
eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets
from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it
is important to stay more than 2 metres (6 feet) away from a person who is sick.
What are the symptoms?
- A high temperature- this means you feel hot to the touch on your chest or back but you don't 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).
Who should test?
you suspect that you have been exposed to the coronavirus due to you having recently travelled to a
high-risk country, you think you may have
come into contact with someone who has Covid-19 or you
have symptoms then you can do the swab test between 1-5 days post exposure.
However, symptoms may not
appear for up to two weeks after you have become infected with the virus. This
means that it is possible to spread the virus without having any symptoms.
If you would like to know if you have had Covid-19 already then the blood test may confirm whether or not you have had it.
A blood sample should be undertaken 14 days or more following
exposure or onset of symptoms. You should not test before this as even if you have contracted the virus and showing symptoms as you may not have produced enough antibodies for them to be detected by the test.
However, you can collect your blood sample at any time if you have not experienced any symptoms at all as some people may have had the virus but don't show any symptoms (asymptomatic).
You can also test 14 days after your first or second vaccination to
check whether you have formed antibodies.
What is the swab test?
The test involves taking a single combined swab of your mouth and then your nose - as used by the NHS.
It is a PCR test that detects the genetic information of the
virus, the RNA. This is only possible if the virus is there and someone is
actively infected. By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body
before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can
tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.
We provide an instruction leaflet with your test that details how you should take the test.
Where should I post my test?
What is the antibody test?
Testing for COVID-19 antibodies may
tell whether a person has been previously infected with
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to Coronovirus Disease (COVID-19), or has developed antibodies after receiving the vaccine. You’ll also be given your antibody level.
If the level of antibodies in your
blood sample is less than 0.8U/mL then you are negative.
If it’s above this value then you are
positive for antibodies and we’ll give you a value in U/mL
This value may indicate your body’s
immune response to the vaccine or the virus.
You will need to produce a small blood sample using a sterile lancet that is enclosed within the test kit. The lancet pricks the side of your middle or ring finger and you massage a small amount of blood into the collection tube. Full instructions are supplied with the kit.
Who is the manufacturer of the antibody test?
It is the Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2-S (Spike) IgG/IgM total
antibody test that has been evaluated by Public Health England (PHE) as
being suitable for detecting the production of COVID-19 antibodies from
capillary blood samples.
It is both qualitative and quantitative as this blood test enables the determination of both the presence and level of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the target of many COVID-19 vaccines,. It can signal whether a person has already been infected and has potentially developed immunity to the virus., and plays an important part in characterising a vaccine-induced immune response.
Are the tests legal in the UK?
Both the swab tests and the antibody tests are completely legal to sell in the UK and have a special CE mark to prove their validity.
How accurate are the tests?
The PCR swab assays used at TDL show a minimum sensitivity of 98% and a specificity of 100%, with no cross-reactivity with other viruses.
The antibody tests have a minimum sensitivity of 99.8% and a specificity of 98.8%.
The tests are performed by The Doctors Laboratory, who provide quality UK accredited pathology services worldwide. The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) is a medically-led laboratory, established in 1987. It is the largest independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK.
How soon will I receive my test?
If you order before 4pm Monday to Friday then you will receive your PCR swab test kit the next working day by our courier DPD. You will receive an allocated 1 hour delivery slot from DPD on the morning of delivery.
If you order on a Friday before 4pm then you can upgrade to a Saturday delivery for only £2.
The Antibodies test kit is posted by 1st Class Royal Mail.
How and when do I get my results?
You will normally receive your blood test results within 24-48 hours and the swab test results within 24 hours of the lab receiving your test sample.
You can opt for a choice from 3 types of communication.
1) Open email
2) Email notification where you simply receive an email informing you that you have a message from Webmed. Then you log into our website with your email and secure password to receive your test results in your message centre
3) SMS notification where you receive a text informing you that you have a message from Webmed and then you log into your message centre for your results.
What if my swab test is positive?
If you test positive
You must immediately self-isolate for a minimum of ten days to prevent
spreading the virus to others. Anyone who has been in contact with you must self-isolate for 10 days also.
You should then use the online coronavirus 111 service here https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
or contact the NHS on 111 who will
advise you on the next steps to take.
Will I have immunity if my antibody test is positive?
The immune response to SARS-CoV-2
continues not to be fully understood and the significance of having antibodies
against this virus is not known.
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.
This could mean that an individual who
has a confirmed infection by PCR could have a negative antibody result; this
could also be true if the blood sample is taken too soon, or too long after
Therefore, you must still
follow the social distancing rules to avoid catching it again or
spreading the virus to anyone else.
What if my antibody test is negative?
If you haven’t experienced
any of the Covid-19 symptoms then you’ve probably not had the virus.
However, if you have had
symptoms then it’s possible that you may have had the virus but your immune
response was low or your antibody levels may have dropped and are therefore
as no vaccine or antibody test is 100% effective, there is a small chance
you’ll test negative even after a vaccine.
Will the antibody test let me know if I have the Covid-19 infection currently?
The blood test only looks for the antibodies that are produced after you have been infected. If you have had a sufficient immune response then it will tell you if you've already had it.
You would need to take a PCR swab test to find out if you have a current infection that would make you infectious to other people.
What are the limitations of the swab test?
As with all viral PCR assays, patients with very low viral loads
are less likely to be detected. 'Not detected' results do not preclude
infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and should not be the sole basis of a
patient treatment/management or public health decision. Where there is a strong
clinical suspicion of an early COVID-19 infection repeat sampling should be
considered 24-48 hours later.