We have been keeping a close eye on developments at Echelon Health regarding Covid-19 antibody tests and we are pleased to tell you that our Medical Director has identified a test he considers to be of sufficient sensitivity and specificity.
This test is manufactured by a diagnostics company called Abbott and the blood samples will be analysed by the leading London blood pathology laboratory that looks after all of Echelon Health’s blood testing. Abbott is one of only two companies so far to secure approval from Public Health England to produce a highly specific Covid-19 antibody test.
What is an antibody test?
Antibodies are formed when your body’s immune system responds to an infection. They are highly specific protein molecules created to bind to a specific pathogen, in this case the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There are many different types of antibody and this kit tests for the most common type, known as IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies which are present in the blood.
An antibody test examines your blood sample for Covid-19 antibodies. If your blood contains these antibodies, it is almost certain you have had Covid-19.
How does an antibody test work?
This particular test involves pricking your finger and producing a small blood sample. It is relatively quick and easy and the kit comes with detailed instructions to help you through the sample collection process.
The manufacturer of these antibody testing kits, Abbott, have said they have a specificity of between 99.7% and 100%.
Will this test tell me if I still have Covid-19?
It can take up to 21 days for your body to make Covid-19 IgG antibodies, and so by this time the infection is likely to have passed. Therefore, the test will not be able to confirm if you are currently infected with certainty.
Tests for current Covid-19 infection are available from drive-through regional testing sites and involve taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat. These will not confirm whether or not you have had Covid-19 once the infection has passed.
If I have antibodies, will I be immune from Covid-19?
Antibodies typically confer a degree of immunity from future infection. Therefore, having a positive antibody test means it is highly likely that you have a degree of immunity to Covid. However, the test cannot tell us the level of your antibodies and therefore the strength of your immunity. Further, as, Covid-19 has only been circulating in human hosts for five to six months, we do not yet know how the presence of antibodies will equate to long-term future immunity. Research is ongoing into this area.
A recent scientific review into SARS-CoV-2 proteins and genetics was put together by researchers from the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York. The review suggests that the virus is likely to induce a long-term immune response similar to that of other coronaviruses, including SARS 1 or MERS, which lasts for at least two to three years. However, this is still uncertain.
Echelon Health are able to offer this test at £125 which covers the cost of the test itself as well as the administration of arranging for the blood test in the first place and interpreting the results for you once the blood sample has been tested.
Arrange your Covid-19 Antibody Test today
If you are interested in having a Covid-19 antibody test, then please either call us on 020 7580 7688 or email Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to make the necessary arrangements.