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COVID-19 Antibody Test

The “have I had coronavirus?” test

If you’re wondering whether you’ve already had COVID-19 or not, our antibody test can help. The test is easy to do at home and is a finger prick, lab-analysed blood test.

Important update on COVID-19 Antibody Tests

Nationwide, the MHRA - the government body which regulates medicines and healthcare products in the UK - has asked all testing vendors to temporarily pause sending out Covid-19 Antibody Tests, and their results.

The government wants to ensure every laboratory is meeting the same high standards for blood samples taken by finger-prick tests. This means that all testing of this kind has been temporarily paused across the country. We are confident that our test already exceeds the high standards that will be enforced.

We take clinical accuracy and safety very seriously, and are working closely with our independent laboratory to provide MHRA with the assurances they need so we can dispatch all our tests and process their results as quickly as possible. We expect this to be resolved soon and will be in touch with an update as soon as possible.

We’re experiencing very high call and email volumes at the moment, so please bear with our team. In the meantime, here’s what it means for you if you have ordered a kit from us:

I have not received my test yet

Your test is ready to ship by 1st class Royal Mail, however we have been asked not to send it to you yet. We’ll send you a dispatch email as soon as MHRA confirms we can send your test. In some cases, your test was dispatched before MHRA’s decision, and you’ll receive it in the next day or so.

I have received my test, but not sent my sample

If you have already received your test, you can still send us your blood sample as normal. Our laboratory will continue to process your sample, however the results will not be shared with you until the MHRA has granted the laboratory approval to release them.

I have already sent my sample, but not yet received my results

If you have already sent us your sample and not yet received your results, our laboratory will continue to process your sample, however the results will not be shared with you until the MHRA has granted the laboratory approval to release them.

I have already received my results

If you have already received your results, this information has no bearing on the accuracy of your results.

How reliable is the test available through Babylon?

Our partner laboratory which is based in the UK and meets international standards, has validated these tests for at-home, lab-analysed, finger-prick samples.

They report that the tests offer sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 99.5% for home finger-prick samples, which means there are low rates of false positive and false negative results. This level of accuracy exceeds the desired government requirements for home-finger prick testing of COVID-19 antibodies. The government requires a minimum of 98% specificity and 98% sensitivity.

When will the situation change?

We are working closely with the MHRA and our independent laboratory to make sure your test and results are sent to you as soon as possible.

What will this test tell me?

Antibodies are formed as part of your body’s immune response to an infection. Your blood sample will be examined in a lab for IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies tend to be found in your blood 21 days after your symptoms of COVID-19 started. If your blood contains these antibodies, it is likely you’ve had the infection.

Can I do the test if I’ve never had symptoms?

Yes, anyone can choose to take this test, regardless of whether they’ve had symptoms or not. Studies suggest that up to 4 out of 5 people with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms at all.1,2

What this test won’t tell me

As COVID-19 is a new disease, we don’t yet know if having these IgG antibodies means you are immune or how long you might be immune for.

Research is currently being done on how the immune system responds to this coronavirus and we will know more as time goes by. At Babylon, we will provide you with the latest government and scientific advice on our website, as things develop.

This test is unlikely to tell you if you’re currently infected (as it can take up to 21 days for your body to make IgG antibodies) and you may test negative if you’ve had COVID-19 in the last 21 days.

How to take your blood sample

Watch the video

How accurate is this test?

The laboratory that Babylon are working with is currently reporting a sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 99.5% for the test.

This means that:

  • Of 1000 people who have had COVID-19, 985 will correctly test positive
  • Of 1000 people who have not had COVID-19, 995 will correctly test negative.

Babylon does not take any responsibility for the accuracy of the results provided by the laboratory.

How is this test different from other COVID-19 tests?

There are a few types of COVID-19 tests available at the moment.

  • Virus PCR tests

    Virus PCR tests are done by taking a swab from the nose and throat and sending it to the lab for analysis. They’re used to detect if someone currently has COVID-19. For more information on these tests, visit the UK government website.

  • Home rapid-test cassettes

    These tests aren’t currently approved for home use in the UK. They are completed at home, without sending your blood to a lab for analysis and involve putting a drop of blood onto a cassette and then reading the result minutes later, like on a pregnancy test.

How long will the results take?

From the time your sample reaches the lab, it takes 24-48 hours to process your test.

The time it takes for you to get your result depends on how long it takes for your sample to reach the lab. This is variable at the moment. Some postal deliveries are delayed due to COVID-19.

Help and Support

If you need any help, please get in touch with our Support Team.

Email: support@babylonhealth.com

Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate is the test?

Babylon has partnered with an independent laboratory for this test, which meets ISO 15189 standards. This laboratory reports that this test has:

98.5% sensitivity. This means that among 1000 people who have had COVID-19, 985 of them will correctly test positive. For 15 of these 1000 people who have had COVID-19, the result will come back negative - this is called a false negative. This means that 15 out of 1000 people will think they don’t have antibodies to COVID-19, but in fact they do.

99.5% specificity. This means that among 1000 people who have not had COVID-19, 995 of them will correctly test negative. For 5 of these 1000 people who have not had COVID-19, the result will come back positive - this is called a false positive. This means that 5 out of 1000 people will think they have antibodies to COVID-19, but in fact they don’t.


Will a finger-prick blood sample give me a reliable result?

The antibody tests we use have been extensively tested by an independent laboratory, using internal validation. This laboratory meets ISO 15189 standards.

They report the antibody test surpasses the government’s desired requirements for home-sampled, lab-analysed finger-prick tests of at least 98% sensitivity and 98% specificity.



What d
oes a positive result mean?

A positive result means that the test found IgG antibodies to coronavirus (COVID-19) in your blood.

This is because your immune system has been exposed to the virus and your body has made antibodies in response.

It is possible to receive a false positive result. Such a result is infrequent. The lab reports that out of 1000 people that haven’t had COVID-19, 5 will receive a positive result.


What does a negative result mean?

A negative result means that the test did not find IgG antibodies to coronavirus (COVID-19) in your blood.

This means you have not had COVID-19 or not made antibodies in response.

Keep in mind that the test is most accurate if it has been at least 21 days since you were infected. You may get a negative test if you were infected in the last 3 weeks.

It is possible to receive a false negative result. Such a result is infrequent. The lab reports that out of 1000 people that have had COVID-19, 15 will receive a negative result.


What does a borderline result mean?

A borderline result means that the test has picked up a low level of IgG antibodies to coronavirus (COVID-19) in your blood, but not enough to give you a positive result.

It can take 21 days to make IgG antibodies, so this result may mean you took the test too soon after infection. You may choose to purchase another test and repeat it.


I'm a GP at Hand member - can I order an antibody test through Babylon?

Yes. You can use the Babylon app for non-NHS care as well as for GP at Hand services. The COVID-19 Antibody Test is not part of the GP at Hand service, so you'll need to temporarily switch your “membership type” within the app to access it. Don’t worry, you’ll still be a GP at Hand member. If you would like to order a test please go to the "Me" section, select "membership", "membership type" and then "Babylon". Don't forget to toggle back to your "GP at Hand" membership afterwards so you can see and use all the NHS services that you are used to, including speak to an NHS clinician 24/7 for free.


Are other household members immune if I test positive?

As COVID-19 is very infectious, there is a chance other household members have also been exposed. However, this is not certain. It is also not yet known if having antibodies makes someone immune against this particular coronavirus.


Do I still need to follow government advice if I get a positive result?

Everyone needs to follow the latest government guidance. Even if you have antibodies to this COVID-19, we don’t yet know if you’re immune or if you can still pass it on to other people.


How much does the test cost?

Babylon is selling this test at cost price. This means we are not making any profit from selling these antibody tests.

Kit

The materials and assembly of the kit

£6.00

Transport

Getting the kit to you and back to the lab

£7.00

Lab fees

Private CLIA-Certified lab

£28.00

Administrative costs

Including staff costs and customer care

£24.00

Follow up

Live chat to discuss your results

£4.00

Total cost=£69


Is this an NHS test?

This test is private and does not use any NHS resources. By purchasing this test you are not taking tests away from frontline staff or people who need a test.


Is this test available for people aged under 18?

No, this test is only available for people aged 18 and over.

References

  1. Day, M. (2020). Covid-19: four fifths of cases are asymptomatic, China figures indicate. BMJ, p.m1375. https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375?=&utm_source=adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=usage&utm_content=daily&utm_term=text
  2. World Health Organization (2020). Situation Report-46. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200306-sitrep-46-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=96b04adf_4.