Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid Antibody test
How does our antibody testing service work?
Why should I book a coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody test with Bupa?
- To get a reliable test with rapid results.
- A follow up call with a nurse for 3 months after your test, if you have further questions or concerns.
- We’ve partnered with a trusted supplier to provide our testing kits.
- One transparent price includes the test and follow up advice.
- You don’t need to be a Bupa insurance customer.
Rapid or point-of-care tests (POCT) refer to a test that does not need to be sent to a laboratory to be analysed. The POCT we use is a lateral flow test. These tests cassettes look like pregnancy tests and only require a small drop of blood to assess for COVID-19 antibodies. Results are available within 15 minutes.
Antibody testing will be able to tell you if you have detectable antibodies to COVID-19 in your blood.
The test involves the clinician using a small device called a lancet to make a small pin prick in your finger. This will feel like a sharp scratch.
No, if you encounter certain viruses the body may produce antibodies to help defend against it, should you come into contact with it again. However, because COVID-19 is a new virus, it is not yet known if the presence of antibodies provides immunity to COVID-19, or for how long any protective immunity may last. Even if you get a positive result you still need to follow government guidelines around social distancing and self-isolation.
The COVID-19 antibody test looks for the presence of specific antibodies in the blood for the SARS-Cov-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19). The presence of antibodies in a blood test helps identify those who have been previously infected by COVID-19. You’ll either receive a positive (antibodies detected) or a negative result (antibodies not detected).
You will get your result during your 15 minute appointment and will also get a secure email with your results.
The test should be done at least 20 days after:
- The first day of COVID-19 symptoms if you had symptoms
- The day of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result
- Suspected infection e.g. if you were told to self-isolate and didn’t get symptoms then wait 20 days after your self-isolation period has finished
Or at any point if you have not had symptoms but would like to know if you have detectable antibodies.
You should not attend your appointment if you have had symptoms or a positive test within the last 20 days.
There is no clear and conclusive evidence to determine the duration of an individual’s antibody response. We are therefore unable to recommend a ‘maximum’ time to wait before having the test. We do however recommend having the test as soon as possible after the 20 days since symptoms began.
No. This test is for antibodies for COVID-19. These are formed in response to infection with COVID-19 are best detected over 20 days after infection began. This test therefore does not tell you if you are currently contagious.
Both types of antibody test are intended to be qualitative. This means that they provide a positive (antibodies detected) or negative (antibodies not detected) result only. It is important to note that we do not yet know whether antibodies offer definitive protection against COVID-19 re-infection, and if so, at what level, or how long for.
This test will not tell you if you currently have COVID-19. If you have symptoms, the NHS provide testing to tell you if you are currently infected. We will be happy to provide a rapid antibody test for you if it has been over 20 days since your symptoms began and have since resolved.
The relative sensitivity (true positive) of the test 97.95% vs ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoassay). The relative specificity (true negative) is 99.57% vs ELISA. The overall accuracy of the test is 99.25%
This test is not currently available for home use. We will be looking to offer home-collected tests if and when they receive the necessary validation.
Whilst the Bupa COVID-19 antibody test can detect if an individual has detectable antibodies to COVID-19, how this test can be used after vaccination remains unknown. At present there is not enough research to support using this test to confirm response to vaccination. Our clinical teams continue to work closely with our test manufacturers to determine how this test might be used following vaccination, and we will update our website when more information is available.
Your negative antibody test result means COVID-19 antibodies were not detected present in your blood sample at the time of testing. This suggests that you have probably not been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in recent months.
However, it is possible to have had the virus and receive a negative antibody result. This can happen for some people because they do not develop antibodies, or their level of antibodies is too low for the test to detect. Antibody response can fade or ‘wane’ since your illness. This is more common in people who have had relatively mild COVID-19. Immunosuppressant medications or medical conditions affecting the immune system may also affect the antibody response.
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