What is the Covid-19 Coronavirus Swab Test?
The coronavirus swab test is the antigen test which shows whether you have the active virus (SARS-CoV-2) or not. If your test comes back positive it means you currently have the virus. If it comes back negative, you do not currently have the virus.
How does the COVID-19 swab test work?
The swab test works by collecting cells from the back of the throat and nose, which are the sites where the virus replicates, via a swab. The laboratory then puts the swabs in a solution to release the cells. The genetic code of the cells is then matched with the genetic code of COVID-19. The technique used to the test the swabs is called a polymerase chain reaction, which is why they’re called PCR swab tests.
When should you have a coronavirus swab test?
You should have a COVID-19 swab test if you currently have symptoms of coronavirus. The most common symptoms remain a sudden loss of smell and taste, a continuous cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You can read more about the symptoms here.
Some new symptoms have also emerged including rashes, diarrhoea/nausea and “COVID Toes”. Due to the fact that the novelty of the virus, research is still ongoing into symptoms across different populations.
What are the different options of swab test I can get?
Getting a COVID PCR Swab is usually a worrying time as you would like to get your results as quickly as possible. With this in mind, we have worked with our partner lab to provide three swabs with different turnaround times so you can choose the one most suited to you.
|Type of PCR swab||Turnaround time||Location|
|Home test||3 – 5 days||Posted to your home|
|Standard||2 – 3 days||Birmingham, Chelsea, Chislehurst, Covent Garden & Shoreditch|
|Express||24 hours*||Chelsea, Covent Garden & Shoreditch|
|Same Day||4 – 6 hours *||Covent Garden|
Results turnaround from the swab tests are calculated from receipt of the sample at the lab. If you or someone in your household has symptoms but don’t have the test results back yet, you should continue to self-isolate for the 10-day period.
*If we are unable to deliver your Express or Same Day test results within the advertised timescales, we will refund you the difference between the cost of the test you have paid and the next fastest test.
What is the private Same Day COVID Swab test?
Our new same-day COVID PCR swab test guarantees you your results on the same day you take the test. Our test in unique as we use our in-house Point of Care machine to analyse the results in 4-6 hours. Our Point of Care machine uses the same CE marked, PHE-approved technology as used by Randox Laboratories used for the NHS testing programmes.
Our Same Day PCR swab tests have been shown to be 98% Sensitive and 100% Specific.
How reliable is the coronavirus swab test?
The swab test we have chosen with our partner lab show a minimum sensitivity of 98% and specificity of 100%, with no reactivity with other viruses. We continue to work with our lab and our clinicians to ensure our test offers the highest accuracy and safety for our patients.
What should I do if I think I have had coronavirus now but no longer have symptoms?
If you think you have had coronavirus, you should choose the antibody test. The coronavirus antibody test will show you if you have previously had COVID-19 as you will have IgG antibodies. The antibody test is best taken 14 days or more after the first onset of symptoms. If you test positive on the antibody test is does not mean you are immune, and you should continue to follow government guidelines on social distancing.
If someone in your household has tested positive and currently has symptoms but you do not, you should have the PCR swab test. This is because you can be infectious before the onset of symptoms and therefore you may have COVID-19.
Order a Private COVID-19 Swab Test
Our home swab tests for members of the public are £189 including postage fee*. Tests are only available for UK shipping.
Book a Standard, Express or Same Day PCR Swab Test in Clinic
Covent Garden (£214)
Covent Garden (£325)
Covent Garden (£450)
Medically reviewed by: Dr Daniel Fenton, GP and Medical Director at London Doctors Clinic Reviewed: May 2020 | Next review date: May 2021