A serology testing or antibody test can determine whether an individual has been previously infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The results from this test are used by UK’s National Health Service or NHS to improve their understanding of how a person’s body reacts to the virus and how it spreads.
It can also detect if the body has created antibodies to the virus after having the COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to note that an antibody test differs from a rapid antigen and PCR test to tell whether a person has an active coronavirus infection.
What are antibodies?
An antibody, also known as immunoglobulin, refers to the proteins created by a body’s immune system to fight a particular virus or antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria, fungi, and viruses like the SARS-CoV-2.
Who can get an antibody test?
This test is only available to specific groups. Those who want to take one can register for an invite to get an antibody test kit and a home test kit sent directly in the post.
If you live in the UK, you might be eligible to register for an antibody coronavirus test given that you are taking part in the following:
- National Cancer COVID-19 survey
- Sarscov2 Immunity & Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) study
- Office for National Statistics (ONS) COVID-19 infection survey
Those who take a PCR test for COVID-19 can be given an option to participate in antibody testing. Taking the test will help detect antibodies made after vaccination or infection.
What does the antibody test result mean?
Results from an antibody test might take up to 3 to seven days and are usually sent by text or email. There are different antibody tests with the currently available ones that can assess IgM and IgG to one of two viral proteins: S and N.
Ensure to check and understand the message you received to interpret the result.
A positive antibody test result means the test could detect COVID-19 antibodies. Meaning you are likely to have protection from severe disease. However, it is still possible to get the virus or spread it. A positive result can also make you eligible to participate in research studies to understand the effects of COVID-19 on people’s health.
A negative antibody test result means the test could not detect any COVID-19 antibodies. But antibodies take time to develop, and others make antibodies within 28 days of being infected or vaccinated. Some might take longer.
There could be a void test result in some cases, which means the test did not work. It can be because of a problem with the test kit or the blood sample is insufficient.
Why take the test?
Antibody testing cal helps the NHS and research scientists learn more about the virus and its spread. It is also helpful in understanding immunity against COVID-19 and the impact of new immerging variants on how effective the vaccine is.
If you want to take an antibody test, you can talk to a doctor if taking one is appropriate. Doctors might recommend getting an antibody test should you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but your viral test is negative. You can also take one if you had symptoms for COVID-19 but did not get the chance to get tested.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.