Antibody Testing Service
Rapid Covid-19 antibody Test
Laboratory Covid-19 antibody Test
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Frequently Asked Questions
An antibody test is a blood test to check if you’ve had coronavirus (COVID-19) before or been vaccinated. The test detects your body’s response to the virus or vaccination but cannot tell you if you currently have COVID-19.
The test is taken with a finger prick and a small amount of blood is drawn into a pipette. It is a straightforward procedure with minimal discomfort. If you have low blood pressure or low circulation in your hands, which may present as your fingers going unusually white in cold winter weather, this test may be more difficult. If it is a cold day, please try to ensure your hands are warm when you arrive for your test.
A neutralising antibody defends your body from a pathogen or infectious material by neutralising any effect it has biologically. It makes the infectious material no longer infectious.
Various studies have shown that antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 typically last around 6 months.
This study by UK Biobank showed that in most cases antibodies remain for at least 6 months.
“One of the most significant findings of the study is that 99% of participants who had tested positive for previous infection retained antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 for 3 months after being infected, and 88% did so for the full 6 months of the study. This discovery provides an early indication that the antibodies produced following natural infection, and potentially following vaccination, may protect most people against subsequent infection for at least 6 months.”
You should use this test if you are looking to find out whether you have developed protective antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and if so, in what quantity. It will give you a count of IgG antibodies to the spike protein of the virus, which are developed from either vaccination or natural infection.
This test can be of particular interest to individuals who are about to receive a vaccination or have received an injection in the weeks prior to testing. By offering a count of antibodies, it allows you to track your immunity over time.
If you are using this test prior to vaccination to have insight into your current level of immunity, we recommend you attend the test in advance of your vaccine booking.
Yes, this test will detect antibodies created by a vaccine. Currently, the majority of vaccines (Astrazeneca/Oxford, Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna) aim to induce an antibody response against the spike protein, which can be measured by this test.
We recommend you wait until 21 days post vaccination to undertake this test.
A result above 21.8 BAU/ml means that you have developed some protective IgG antibodies to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our report will provide you with a numeric count of these antibodies which is standardised and allows you to compare with other available tests and published WHO standards.
This test will detect antibodies amongst individuals who have been naturally infected or also received one of the following vaccines: AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNtech, Moderna. Generally, a result between 21.8 –44.0 BAU/ml indicates some immunity; however, it is still not known exactly how much protection you will have. Between 44.0-1,000 BAU/ml suggests a high probability of immunity protection. Above 1,000-3,000 BAU/ml is deemed to be generally suggests a higher level of protection. Full protection indicates that if you were to develop Covid-19 you would be much less likely to suffer severe illness. There is no way of knowing the level of protection without a test.
A negative result means you likely have not been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or that the level of protective antibodies has subsequently decreased to a point where they can no longer be detected.
There are different types of antibody tests.
Positive antibody test result
A positive result means the test did detect COVID-19 antibodies.
Antibodies for COVID-19 mean you are likely to have some protection from severe disease, but it’s still possible to get the virus or spread it.
Negative antibody test result
A negative result means the test did not detect COVID-19 antibodies.
Antibodies take time to develop. Most people make antibodies within 28 days of being infected or vaccinated, but it can take longer.
Patients on immunosuppressant drugs or with compromised immune systems because of underlying health conditions are unlikely to mount as robust an immune response as patients with intact immune systems. This may result in lower levels of antibodies detected, even in the wake of vaccination. Despite a suboptimal antibody response, vaccination will still afford a certain amount of protection against catching Covid-19.
For immunocompromised patients, we currently recommend testing 6 weeks after vaccination. Our clinical team continues to monitor the situation closely and we will continue to update with the latest advice and guidance.
We are still learning about this infection and how the body makes and holds onto antibodies. It is likely you will have developed some immunity. We would advise that you consent to the UK vaccination programme if you have not already done so to offer you the best chance of protection. If you are fully vaccinated and concerned, please contact your GP to discuss the result with them. Please note that vaccinations can take time to develop antibodies in some individuals and some require more exposure to the vaccine than others to develop longer lasting antibodies. Please do adhere to safe hygiene measures when out in public and consider wearing a mask.
Yes, you can still do this test. Research shows that up to 30% of people who have had Covid-19 have not experienced symptoms.