Coronavirus Antibody Test Uk


Private Coronavirus Antibody Test UK

What is the Covid-19 Coronavirus Antibody Test?

The COVID-19 coronavirus antibody test is a blood test which detects whether you’ve developed an immune response (antibodies) specifically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is useful to show whether you have previously come into contact with the virus or not. Predominantly, it highlights past infection but has some ability to check for current infection. However, due to a limited test window, it does not provide the same level of accuracy as a PCR swab coronavirus test which is the test of choice during an active infection.



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When should you have a coronavirus antibody test?

The antibody test is best done 14-21 days after your first symptom(s). The antibody test is both sensitive and specific to the IgG antibody of COVID-19. A positive test result indicates you have had the virus. However, it is not yet known whether this grants any immunity to the virus. This means you may be able to get the virus more than once. A negative test result completed in the correct time frame would suggest you have not previously suffered from COVID-19 and therefore may develop the infection if exposed at a later date.

How does the COVID-19 antibody test work?

Antibody testing is done by having a blood sample taken in clinic by a doctor or nurse, or can be done at home via a finger-prick sample. It is then sent to our laboratory partner for analysis.

Previous testing kits have claimed to give you instant results (based on IgM and IgG antibodies), however, there are questions about the accuracy of these tests. Therefore, we recommend using a lab-based test. Lab-based tests guarantee that results are analysed in a controlled, sterile environment with minimum risk of contamination.

How reliable is the coronavirus antibody test?

Finding a reliable and safe test for our patients has been a priority for us. We have researched many products in partnership with our UK laboratory to ensure the test that we offer provides trusted results. We have chosen to use the Abbott COVID-19 antibody test and our laboratory uses technology created by leading brands for diagnostic tests. The Abbott coronavirus antibody test is 99% accurate and is approved for use by Public Health England. It has also been given the CE mark so shows it complies with EU safety rules.

The test looks for specific IgG antibodies, which appear during an established immune reaction, rather than IgM antibodies which are triggered by an acute immune response and are therefore less reliable.

Antibody testing is a key pillar of the government strategy in boosting overall testing capacity for coronavirus. It is an important part of monitoring the spread of coronavirus. It allows an understanding of those who have recovered from the virus and is a key way to allow businesses to return to some element of normality until a vaccination is ready.

What should I do if I think I have coronavirus now?

The PCR swab coronavirus test will help to establish whether you currently have the active virus. Please do not come into clinic and remember you and your household members will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The IgG antibody blood test will show you if you have had coronavirus. It can be particularly helpful for “silent carriers” who may have had coronavirus but not experienced any symptoms.

Because there is still so much unknown about coronavirus, we don’t know how long the antibodies will remain in your system. Other coronavirus antibodies, such as ones that cause the common cold, usually stay in the body for 1-2 years. Yet for more serious diseases, like MERS or SARS, the length is still unknown. We know from SARS that having the infection did not grant immunity. However, those experiencing a second infection seemed to have milder symptoms. We will not know whether this is also the case with COVID-19 until further research is available.


Order a Private Coronavirus Antibody Test

Our antibody tests, with the sample taken in the clinic, start from £99 including the appointment. Prices differ depending on whether the sample is taken by a GP or in the HLA-led clinic. 

Please note that currently, the antibody test is only available in clinic with the sample taken by a doctor or HLA.



Medically reviewed by: Dr Daniel Fenton, GP and Medical Director at London Doctors Clinic
Reviewed: May 2020 | Next review date: May 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Abbott test approved for use by Public Health England?

Yes. Public Health England (PHE) has approved the use of Abbott’s coronavirus antibody test. Antibody testing will be a key part of the government’s strategy in managing the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Is your test the Roche test or the same as the Roche test?

We currently use the antibody test created by Abbott, which is also approved for use by PHE. Similarly to the Roche test, it looks for the SARS CoV 2 IgG antibody. The Abbott test has been shown to be 99% accurate. At this stage, no laboratory or clinic has access to the Roche test. 

Why should I choose your test?

We have carefully selected an antibody test designed and developed by Abbott Laboratories, one of the world leaders in the development of laboratory testing and equipment.

The test is run by our trusted partner Laboratory – The Doctors Laboratory.

They are the largest private laboratory in the UK, conducting testing for the NHS and delivering Public Health England approved COVID-19 PCR swab testing.

Our testing is NOT taking vital resources away from the NHS. Our laboratory partner has confirmed that they can guarantee a continuous supply of tests for our patients, and will only offer testing we can confidently fulfil.

What antibodies do you test for?

We test for the SARS CoV 2 IgG Antibody. The presence of IgG antibodies helps to identify if you have previously been infected with/exposed to COVID-19.

Our lab uses Abbott Analysers including the ARCHITECT i2000SR system and uses Abbott’s chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) to detect IgG antibodies.

How accurate is your test?

Abbott have confirmed sensitivity and specificity of >99%. In order to provide you with accurate results, it is sensible to conduct your test 14 days or more after the start of any symptoms. If the tests are done too early, they may be negative for IgG antibodies.

Why don’t you test for IgM?

Currently, there are no IgM tests that provide accurate enough results. We pride ourselves on only offering tests of the highest quality and accuracy.

Does this test give me instant results?

We have opted for a laboratory-based test rather than a “pregnancy test” style kit, which means you are provided with the most accurate results. As such, results are not available instantaneously. The turn-around time is typically 1-2 working days.

Does a positive antibody test mean I am immune to COVID-19?

COVID-19 is still very new and we have a lot to learn. At this stage, it is unclear if positive antibodies will protect you definitively from getting COVID-19 again or how long antibodies will remain present. As such, it is important that you continue to follow Government guidelines and social distancing even if you do have antibodies.

Antibody testing helps us to understand who has been infected with the virus. This is information is essential in helping to understand the true spread of infections, how serious the infections are and most importantly help to establish if the preventative measures we have all been taking are working.

Additionally, it will help us to understand the risk of the virus in different populations.

In due course we are likely to learn if antibodies protect us against reinfection with COVID-19, research is ongoing.

When should I have the test?

You may have the test if you are symptom free and it has been 2 weeks or more since your symptoms started.

If you have never had symptoms, you may still have the test as you may have been a “silent carrier”.

Can I have the test if I have symptoms?

The antibody test is likely to be unhelpful, as it takes several days for antibodies to appear in the bloodstream.

You should have a PCR (antigen) swab test which we can send directly to your home address.

Please do not attend our clinics if you are symptomatic.

How can testing help me and my staff get back to work?

We would suggest you consider doing both the PCR swab and antibody testing.

This will help to pick up those who have current infections and should be self- isolating, but also help to understand who has had COVID-19 in the past.

Are self-collection (home tests) still available?

We have temporarily paused our self-collection kits but can offer the Public Health England approved antibody test at any of our clinics in London or Birmingham and the sample will be taken by a trained clinician.

We offer the test to all patients in our dedicated phlebotomy clinics for £144 or in any GP appointment for £164 (Mon-Friday) or £179 (weekends/bank holidays) if you wish to get the most accurate results.

How much does the test cost?

It costs £99 for an antibody test with the blood sample taken by an HLA. 

If you wish to have the test done during a consultation with our GPs in clinic you will be charged for the GP consultation as well. Clinic consultations start from £65 and the antibody test will cost an additional £74. 

Currently, antibody self-collection kits are unavailable. If you would like to be notified when they are back in stock, please enter your email address in the box at the top of the page. 

How long does it take to get results?

Typically, 2 working days after their arrival at our laboratory.

Your results will be shared with you through our patient portal, please provide a personal rather than work email address to avoid delays in receiving your results. Please do check your junk/spam folders if you think you should have received your results.