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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

The MHRA (the government regulator responsible for medicines and medical devices) has asked that all COVID-19 antibody testing from finger-prick blood samples be paused. The MHRA decision has impacted all testing of this type nationwide.

Why testing has paused

The MHRA wants to ensure that blood taken from a capillary (a home finger-prick sample) shows the same levels of accuracy as blood taken from a vein (a sample taken in a clinic).

The independent laboratory responsible for processing all blood samples for the tests available through Babylon, has informed us that, based on their tests, there is no statistically significant difference between the two types of samples. They stand by the accuracy and reliability of their results (which offer sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 99.5%). The lab is working with the MHRA to gather further information to validate this. The lab will not be offering further testing services until the MHRA have provided clearance to do so.

What Babylon is doing next

We don’t think it’s fair for anyone to spend money on a test without knowing when they’ll get the results. Given the MHRA is still working with test kit suppliers and laboratories to gather more information, it is unclear when testing services will resume. On this basis, we’ve decided to automatically refund all customers who haven’t received their results yet. This means if you haven’t received your results (whether you have sent your sample to our laboratory or not) we’ll aim to refund your money within 10 working days, and your order will be cancelled.

If you have ordered a COVID-19 Antibody Test through Babylon, here’s how this information will affect your situation:

I have not received my kit

We will not be sending you a kit. Instead, you will receive a full refund which we will aim to process within 10 working days.

I’ve sent my sample to the laboratory but have not received my results

Our independent laboratory has been asked by the MHRA to stop testing services while they run an end to end evaluation of the testing process. We do not have a firm timeline on the length of this evaluation or how long testing services will be paused. Therefore the automatic refund also applies to you.

I have received my kit but have not done the test yet

If you have received a kit already, but not sent us your sample, please do not do the test. You can dispose of the kit in your regular waste. Your order has been cancelled and we will automatically refund you.

I’ve already received my results

The refund will not apply to you if you have already received your results. However, in light of the MHRA’s recent guidance, we ask that you do not rely on these results at this stage. We ask that you continue to follow the Government’s guidance whatever the result of the test.

I’ve already requested a refund

If you’ve already requested a refund, this is being processed by our team and we’ll email you once this has been processed. We are working to process your refund within 10 working days of your request.

When will I get my refund?

We will automatically process a refund for you and confirm when this has been processed. We aim to process all refunds within 10 working days. There’s nothing you need to do.

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 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 this is a new disease, we don't know yet if having COVID-19 antibodies means you're immune, or how long you might be immune for.

Scientists are currently doing research to find out 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 lab that's carrying out the tests has reported 98.5% sensitivity. This means that among 1000 people who have COVID-19 antibodies, 985 will correctly get a positive result.

For 15 of these 1000 positive cases, the result will come back negative. This is called a false negative.

The lab has reported 99.5% specificity. This means that among 1000 people who do not have COVID-19 antibodies, 995 of them will correctly get a negative result.

And for 5 in every 1000 negative cases, the result will come back positive. This is called a false positive.

These tests are made by a leading diagnosis company. Results are analysed by a fully-accredited third-party laboratory based in the UK.

    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 swab tests

      Virus swab 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. You take these tests at home, without sending your blood to a lab for analysis. To take the test, you put a drop of blood onto a cassette. The chemicals in the test show you your result in a few minutes, 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 return postage bags are sent using the Royal Mail Tracked 24 service. For the fastest delivery, post your sample in a priority postbox. You can find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail website or app. You can use the tracking number on your postage bag to see when it arrives at the lab.

    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.

    There is some evidence that some people do not produce antibodies despite being confirmed ill with COVID-19.

    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 suitable for everyone?

    This test is not suitable if you're under 18 or pregnant, and might not be suitable if you have a bleeding disorder such as haemophilia, as it requires pricking yourself to get a blood sample. If you have any medical concerns around whether taking a home blood sample is appropriate for you, speak to your healthcare professional.

    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.