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Coronavirus Antibody Testing FAQs

What is an antibody test?

Antibodies are proteins produced by our immune system which help fight infection and protect us from future re-infection. By testing for antibodies, your result will indicate whether you have previously been infected with Covid-19 and produced antibodies in response. It is not yet clear whether this will give you long term immunity against Covid-19, or how long any immunity may last.

When should I have a Coronavirus test?

Covid-19 antigen tests should be used by anybody with symptoms, or if you have no symptoms but wish to clarify whether or not you are carrying or incubating the Covid-19 virus.

Antibody tests can be helpful to screen for early or asymptomatic infection, and they can be used to accurately confirm infection on or after 14 days following the onset of symptoms. If you currently have symptoms, you should opt for either our PCR swab or our Near Patient Initial Antigen test. This will detect whether you have an active Coronavirus infection.

What does a positive Covid-19 antibody test mean?

A positive result indicates that you have previously been infected with Coronavirus and recovered. Your immune system has produced Covid-19 specific antibodies in response to the virus. However, you may still be able to pass the virus to others or become infected again, and in some circumstances, you may be asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days to prevent transmission to others. The link between Covid-19 antibodies and immunity is the subject of ongoing medical research.

What does a negative Covid-19 antibody test mean?

A negative Covid-19 antibody result may be because:

  • You have had Covid-19 and produced antibodies in response, but they are no longer detectable.
  • You have had Covid-19, but your body did not produce specific antibodies to fight the virus. Instead, other parts of your immune system may have contributed towards your recovery.
  • You are currently infected with Covid-19 and your body has not yet produced any antibodies.
  • You have never had Covid-19.

Can I do a Covid-19 antibody test at home?

None of the antibody tests available are currently licensed for self-administration or home use.

How do I book my Covid-19 antibody test?

To arrange an antigen or antibody test, simply call or email our administration team on 0191 605 3140 or info@nph-group.co.uk during working hours which are Mon – Fri 08.00am – 17.00pm.

Coronavirus Antigen Testing FAQs

Why test for Covid-19 using an NPH Home Testing Kit?

  • Highly accurate results. This test has a 99.9% accuracy with the correct sampling technique.
  • Fast turnaround time. Your result will be provided to NPH Group within 24 hours of your sample’s arrival at our laboratory.
  • Your test results and personal information will always be dealt with in complete privacy.
  • Accredited laboratories. All tests are performed to the highest clinical standards in our accredited laboratories.
  • World class patient support. Our friendly and experienced Support Team are available to answer your queries during working hours.
  • Order before 4pm and your test kit will be sent out on the same day (Monday to Friday).
  • We will email you as soon as your results are ready to view.
  • Follow-up call. If your test is positive, one of our Doctors will provide a follow-up call to discuss your result.

When can I have this test?

If you have no symptoms you can test at any time. If you believe you have been in contact with Covid-19, it is better to wait at least 5 days after the potential exposure to Covid-19 before having this test to ensure a high-quality sample is collected.

Who can get a coronavirus home test?

This test is suitable and available to anyone who is worried that they have Covid-19 now. You may be displaying symptoms such as a fever or continuous cough, or you may have recently been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.

What is an antigen test?

An antigen is any part of a virus or bacterium that causes our immune system to respond. The PCR swab used to detect the presence of the Covid-19 virus identifies the genetic material (RNA antigen) unique to the virus, and can therefore determine whether a person is actively infected with the virus at the time of the test.

How does the Covid-19 PCR test work?

Our test uses state of the art PCR techniques to look for all current strains of the virus. The principle of PCR is to extract, amplify and identify the viral antigen (RNA). This testing method ensures the high degree of specificity of this test for the Wuhan and related strains of SARS – CoV- 2 coronavirus (Covid-19).

How accurate is the test?

Our test is sensitive to fewer than 100 copies of the target viral RNA, making it highly accurate and specific. This Covid-19 test is 99.9% accurate with the correct sample taking technique. It is important that you follow the instructions included in your test kit. Current evidence shows an average incubation period of 5 days before symptoms of Covid-19 typically emerge. This means that the test is most accurate on or after the 5th day of an active infection.

How much does a coronavirus test kit cost?

Our PCR Swab Test – administered at home, is available for £137.

What are the current Covid-19 travel regulations?

Some airlines and destinations require testing and a certificate to be issued within 48 to 96 hours of departure. Testing passengers prior to flying helps reduce Covid-19 transmission during and after your flight. Travel regulations are subject to change and vary from country to country. You should keep up to date with the Government’s advice about travel and seek information about your destination’s requirements, including any countries visited if you have a flight transfer. Please contact your airline and the relevant authorities if you are unsure about their requirements.

How accurate is this test?

The PCR swab test we use will determine whether you have an active coronavirus infection, even in asymptomatic cases (when you have no symptoms). This test is highly specific, with 99.9% accuracy if the correct sampling technique is used. If you require a certificate confirming the result for travel, the swab must be taken in clinic by one of our clinical healthcare team.