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 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.
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. As testing is constantly changing as we learn more about the virus, we are working with our lab to ensure our test offers the highest accuracy and safety for our patients.
Results from the swab test are usually available within 3-5 working days 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 14-day period.
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.