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Coronavirus Antibody Blood Test

Find out if you’ve already had COVID-19 with a CE-marked laboratory blood test. Order online for only £69, collect your own sample, post it to the lab and get your results in days.


Important update

We are sorry to tell you that we have had to temporarily pause testing for coronavirus antibodies using self-collection samples because of an MHRA process review.

On the 26th May, our laboratories informed us that they had been asked by MHRA to pause the processing of self-collect finger prick samples for coronavirus antibody testing. The MHRA made this request so they could undertake a review of the end-to-end testing process. We believe this is to ensure that home sample collection with postal delivery to the laboratory is a safe and accurate way of testing coronavirus antibodies.

It is important to note that the MHRA is not saying that this test is inaccurate. They are asking the industry to pause testing while they validate results from finger-prick samples relative to venous samples. Our laboratories have reported excellent agreement between these sample types in their own validation studies.

Our laboratories use the Abbott test, which was validated by the manufacturer using venous blood samples. It is the laboratory's responsibility to validate the test using other sample types (such as finger prick samples) which they undertook with our help before we started offering this test for sale.

We identified individuals who had had Covid-19 (with a positive PCR test) and facilitated self-collection samples at home, which were sent to the laboratory by post. This is the process that MHRA wishes to validate. These samples were analysed alongside other confirmed positive and negative samples to validate the test independently. We are supporting the laboratory now with further validation work that MHRA has requested.

As well as ensuring that the laboratories conducted their own validation, we have also worked with all relevant authorities, including MHRA, to ensure that our sample self-collection kit is CE-marked and that it is identified as a COVID-19 sample to ensure safe transit by Royal Mail.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this causes you. We are now working closely with our laboratories and MHRA to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. We recognise that many of our customers have bought tests from us and are in different stages of the testing process. Please read the following status update to see how this affects you:

I have sent my sample but not yet received my result

The laboratory will provide us with your results once MHRA has completed its review of the test. Our doctors will report on these and they will be uploaded to your dashboard as soon as they are made available.

I have activated my kit and taken the sample but have not yet posted my sample

Either post your kit and we will securely store your sample at the laboratory, or request a new kit to be completed once the labs can start testing again.

I have received my kit but have not yet activated it or taken my sample

Please retain your home sample collection kit until we advise that the lab is processing samples again.

My first sample failed and I’ve have been sent a new kit to take another sample

Please retain your home sample collection kit until we advise that the lab is processing samples again. If you have not yet received your kit, we will post it out to you as soon as the lab are processing samples again.

I posted my sample back already but have not been notified that my sample has arrived at the lab

When your sample arrives at the lab and is processed, we will let you know. The lab will provide us with your results once MHRA has completed its review. If your sample is delayed in the post and a new sample is required, we will be in touch to arrange this once the labs are processing tests again.

I have already received my result

The laboratory which processed your result conducted its own validation study on the test using a combination of finger-prick and venous samples. This validation showed excellent agreement between these sample types. The laboratory has been asked to carry out further validation by MHRA. We will contact you with the outcome of this additional work when it is complete. You should continue to follow all government guidelines for social distancing whether your test detected antibodies or not. We do not yet know whether a positive result confers immunity to COVID-19 or, if it does, how long that immunity will last.

If you purchased multiple tests, please forward this message to anyone you have given a sample collection kit to.

Our customer care team is experiencing very high call and email volumes at the moment. We are sorry if you have to wait to get through to someone in the team. We will contact you about the status of your test when we have further information. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care and is responsible for ensuring that medical devices work and are acceptably safe.

Trusted team

Trusted team

We’re a medically-led company with a team of qualified doctors and pathology experts. Our coronavirus antibody test is manufactured by a leading global laboratory test manufacturer and your sample will be analysed at a UKAS-accredited laboratory in the UK.

CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODY TESTING FAQs

What kind of test is this?

This test looks for the presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Antibodies are produced by the body's immune system during COVID-19 and start to become detectable around 7 days after symptoms start and increase over time. Antibodies can be reliably detected in the majority of people from 14 days after the onset of symptoms. We advise taking the test 21 days after the onset of symptoms. This is because our laboratory has reported a slight increase in the chances of finding detectable antibodies in samples taken between 17 and 21 days after the onset of symptoms. This test helps to establish whether someone has had COVID-19 and is now producing antibodies to the virus.

Does a positive antibody test mean that I now have immunity to COVID-19?

We do not yet know whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the blood provides any lasting immunity to future infection or any protection at all. We expect to learn more about the extent and duration of any potential immunity over the coming months.

If I have a positive coronavirus antibody test result, do I still need to follow the government guidelines for social distancing?

Yes, until we understand more about the virus and whether the presence of antibodies means that you can’t catch it again, it is important that you follow all the recommended guidelines.

How is the test carried out?

The test is performed on a blood sample by our UKAS-accredited laboratory partners using a CE-marked antibody test. It is a laboratory test using chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) technology, developed by a global medical devices manufacturer and health care company. The fact that it is CE-marked means that it conforms with European standards for the design and manufacture of such tests.

How accurate is the test?

The manufacturer states that in its validation study the test detected antibodies in 100% of confirmed coronavirus cases when the sample was taken at least 14 days after symptoms first developed. The test produced a negative result in 99.6% of samples from people who did not have the SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same study. The manufacturer’s validation study was conducted on venous blood samples taken from a vein in the arm. Our laboratory has conducted validation using a combination of venous and finger-prick blood samples. In the laboratory’s study, the test had a sensitivity of 98.5% which means that if 1,000 people who had previously been infected with coronavirus virus took the test, 15 of them would be told that they hadn’t had coronavirus when they had (a false negative result). It had a specificity of 99.5% which means that if 1,000 people who hadn’t had the virus took the test, 5 of them would be told they had been infected when they hadn’t (a false positive result).

Why has Medichecks decided to sell a Coronavirus antibody test?

We have been working closely with our partner laboratories to find an antibody test which is both accurate and available at scale. While other tests have been available for a few weeks, we wanted to wait for a reliable test before offering it to members of the public.

Is it the same as the at-home rapid detection antibody tests?

No, this is a test where you collect a finger prick blood sample at home in a small vial and post it to our UKAS-accredited laboratory for analysis. Once the laboratory receives the blood sample, your result should be available within 3 working days. So far, none of the rapid detection tests have been able to achieve the levels of accuracy claimed by the manufacturer of this laboratory test.

Does the Medichecks home sample collection kit comply with the regulations?

Yes. Medichecks is registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as a manufacturer for the purpose of assembling its finger prick sample collection kit.  MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care and is responsible for ensuring that medical devices work and are acceptably safe. We assemble our kits from different components, the key elements of which are CE-marked for use in the EU.

What does a positive result mean?

A positive result means that the laboratory found IgG antibodies to coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in your blood. This means that it is highly likely that you have been infected with coronavirus in the past.

Could there be false positive results?

Most tests that look for antibodies will return a small percentage of false-positive results. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 they may occur because antibodies to other viruses in the coronavirus family potentially react with the components in the SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests. In the validation study conducted by the manufacturer about 1 test in every 200 on samples from people not infected with coronavirus returned a positive result.

What does a negative result mean?

A negative result means that the laboratory did not find IgG antibodies to coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) in your blood. This means that it is very unlikely that you have been infected with the virus in the past. However, you may get a negative result if you took the test too soon after developing symptoms (i.e. before antibodies have reached detectable levels). This is why we recommend waiting at least 21 days from the onset of symptoms before taking your test.

Could there be false negative results?

This coronavirus antibody test was 100% sensitive in its validation study. This means that it correctly detected antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in all samples from people with a confirmed coronavirus infection and who were tested at least 14 days after the onset of symptoms. If you test before this time, you may get a negative result even if you are infected, because your antibodies may not yet have reached detectable levels.

What does a borderline result mean?

A borderline result means that IgG antibodies were not high enough to give a positive result. This may be because you tested too soon after developing symptoms. If you get a borderline result, we suggest repeating the test 7-14 days after your first test to check if your antibody levels have increased.

How does it work?

Once you have placed your order, we will send you a finger-prick blood sample collection kit in the post to your home or to your chosen address. When you are ready to take your sample, you must first activate your kit on the Medichecks website. This is an important step which ensures that the laboratory knows which result belongs to you. Once you have collected your sample, simply post it back to our laboratory in the Royal Mail Tracked envelope provided. 2-3 days after the lab receives your sample your result will be displayed on your Medichecks dashboard along with advice from a Medichecks doctor. At-home finger-prick blood testing is a tried and tested methodology which Medichecks has been using for many years.

Can I buy more than one test at a time?

Yes. We recognise that many of you will want to buy coronavirus antibody tests for your household or even for a small business. We send the test kits to the address you specify for you to distribute. Each person taking a test must activate their test kit online before using it. This means that the laboratory will link the test result to the person taking the test. If test kits are sent to the lab without activating first, then we will not be able to process the result.

Who should use this test?

This test is appropriate for anyone who wants to know whether they have had COVID-19. People who have had a mild or moderate form of the disease, or who have been exposed to COVID-19 but didn’t experience symptoms at all, may want to know whether they previously had the virus. It is important to wait 21 days from the onset of symptoms before taking this test; this allows sufficient time for antibodies to reach detectable levels. If you have had no symptoms, then this test should be taken 28 days after the last exposure to the virus.

I think I had Covid-19 several months ago. Will I still have antibodies now?

There is no evidence yet to suggest that IgG antibodies produced by the body in response to SARS-CoV-2 decline to undetectable levels after only a few months.  It is likely that people infected with coronavirus several months ago will still have IgG antibodies present in their blood now. How long these antibodies remain in the blood will become known by studying people who have had the infection and monitoring their IgG levels over time. This will give a clearer indication on how long after infection the test will detect antibodies in most people.

I am experiencing symptoms which I think may be caused by COVID-19. Should I take this test?

No. This test is only for people who want to know if they were infected with coronavirus in the past. If you are experiencing symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath or high temperature you should isolate yourself at home and seek guidance from NHS 111.

Is this test available to companies? 

Yes. If your workforce is all in the same location, then it is easy to buy multiple coronavirus antibody test kits online and distribute them to your employees. If you need kits to go to different offices or to your employees’ homes, then please call us on 03450 660 022 or email us at business@medichecks.com

How can companies use this test?

This test can be used by companies or organisations that want to find out whether any of their employees have already had COVID-19. It is not known yet whether the presence of antibodies confers immunity to coronavirus in the future.

Can I buy a test for my children?

Unfortunately, this test can only be used by adults aged 18 and over.

Is it safe to send my coronavirus antibody blood sample in the post?

Yes. Medichecks and Royal Mail have many years of experience in dealing with postal blood samples. Firstly, this blood test is for a past infection not a current one.  You should only take the test at least 21 days after the onset of symptoms, when you are no longer infectious.  Secondly, the sample collection kit sent to you contains all the components required to send your sample to the lab safely in the post. The tube used to collect your blood is designed to withstand forces that would be reasonably encountered in transit – just make sure that you hear a click when you put the top on the tube after you’ve taken your sample.  Then you’ll know it’s securely fastened. The tube is then placed in a sealed container (or a bag) which contains absorbent material. This is designed to absorb all of the blood should it escape from the tube and prevents it from spilling out of the packaging in the case of a leak. This container or bag complies with UN3373 – an IATA shipment classification governing the transport of category B diagnostic specimens (in this case blood). The return envelope identifies the contents as being a biological sample (UN3373) and also a COVID-19 test sample. It must be posted in a priority Royal Mail postbox.  Items from these boxes are collected by workers with the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and are specially bagged to minimise the risk of contamination.

Will my sample remain stable in the post?

Yes. Analysis by the laboratory shows that blood samples are stable for at least 7 days when testing for coronavirus antibodies.  

Can I buy a test if I live outside of the UK?

No. Unfortunately our service is only available for people who reside in the UK.

Will this test tell me if I have a current infection?

No. This test detects antibodies which are produced some time after an individual becomes infected.

What is a PCR test?

Most tests conducted for COVID-19 to date are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which look for genetic (RNA) fragments of the virus itself. These swab tests are used to collect samples from the nose and throat in drive-through testing centres which have been set up for front-line NHS and other key workers. These tests look for an active infection. A positive PCR test means that you currently have the virus and are potentially infectious to others.

Why doesn’t Medichecks sell a PCR swab test?

We have decided not to sell an at-home swab test for COVID-19 because of the challenges of completing self-collect swab samples. The swab needs to be inserted deep into the nose and towards the back of the throat for a reliable sample to be collected. If the sample isn’t taken correctly, the chances of a false negative result (being told that you are not infected, when in fact you are) are unacceptably high.

Questions? Let us help

Questions? Let us help

Our customer care team is on-hand to help you find the test that's right for you. Get in touch via phone, live chat or email.

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