Coronavirus tests are being offered by the NHS for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, which include a fever and a cough. If you or someone you live with has the symptoms, you should request a test within the first five days. You can also get a cover test if your local council asks you to or if you’re taking part in a government project. But what about an antibody test, how do you get one of those?
A covid antibody test is a blood test to find out if you’ve had coronavirus before.
However the test does not work for everyone – some people who have had the virus in the past do not have the antibodies.
And while the test may be able to tell you if you’ve already had it, this doesn’t mean you’re immune to the virus.
It also does not mean you cannot spread the virus to other people.
The NHS says it is important to note: “If you get a positive antibody test result (you have coronavirus antibodies), you still need to follow the same social distancing advice as everyone else.
“This includes staying 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people and washing your hands often.”
The test works by checking for antibodies – which are made by your body when it gets an infection and helps to fight it – in your blood.
So if you have coronavirus antibodies in your blood, it is likely you may have already had the virus.
How do I get an antibody test?
Free antibody tests not currently widely available.
However, if you are an NHS or care worker, you may be offered it.
Home antibody test kits are not being recommended at this time, although you could pay for a test at a private clinic if needed.
Express.co.uk will update this article when more information on how to get a free antibody test is available.
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Where can I get an antibody test?
UK high street pharmacies and private healthcare providers are currently offering COVID-19 antibody testing for members of the public.
However, these home kits are not being recommended by medical professionals and experts.
The Government says: “The sample collection kits have not yet been validated for home use and we can’t be sure that people collecting samples at home currently have sufficient support to collect samples in a way that the laboratory can process to give reliable results and therefore should only be used by a fully trained healthcare professional.
“It’s very important for people at home to be able to understand the reliability of the result and what it means for them.
“The science regarding immunity from COVID-19 is still emerging and the implications of a positive antibody result are as yet unknown.. A positive result may not mean a person is immune or if they have antibodies now, or how long this will last.”
The Government added: “We strongly advise members of the public or organisations who have purchased these tests and received antibody results to continue to follow the Government’s advice whatever the result of the test.
“We are contacting providers of the antibody testing services and the laboratories running these tests.
“We are asking them to temporarily stop offering these tests for sale until the regulatory and safety concerns have been resolved.
“This involves further validation of the sample collection kits and the sample type and ensuring that result and supporting information is helpful and accurate.”
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