COVID-19 is a respiratory tract infection caused by a new virus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – which was first recognised in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.
Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness with non-specific symptoms like fever, fatigue, cough, appetite loss, feeling generally unwell, muscle pain, sore throat, breathlessness, nasal congestion, or headache. Rarely, patients may have diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Loss of taste and smell has been reported early in the infection. About 15% of people, particularly those aged >70 years, will develop severe illness requiring hospital admission for oxygen therapy, and about 5% will require intensive care unit treatment. The death rate has been estimated at between 1 and 2% of those infected.
It is now known that you can be infective to other people before you have symptoms and some people can have high quantities of the virus but no symptoms at all. Whatever your tests results show, you must still adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Tests for coronavirus – do I have the virus now?
This test is for current infection. Please note we are unable to offer swab testing in our clinic so this swab kit will be posted to you by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed. Not everyone is eligible for testing on the NHS and/or would like to help protect the NHS by paying for a private test. Nose/throat swabs (PCR swabs) can identify people who currently have the virus. The test we use shows a minimum sensitivity of 98% and a specificity of 100%, with no cross-reactivity with other viruses. The swabs are sent to the laboratory and results take 2 days to come back.
As with all viral PCR assays, patients with very low viral loads are less likely to be detected. ‘Not detected’ results do not guarantee you are not infected or that you cannot pass on the virus to others. Where there is a strong clinical suspicion of COVID-19 infection repeat sampling should be considered 24-48 hours later. Test results should be interpreted by a trained professional in conjunction with the patient’s history and clinical signs, symptoms, and risk factors.
Tests for coronavirus – have I had the virus already?
A blood test for antibodies can tell whether a person has previously been infected. Most patients who recover have been found to produce antibodies, but some people do not develop antibodies even after proven infection with COVID-19. It is not yet known if people who have already had COVID-19 are able to get it again or if they become immune. A positive test for antibodies does not mean that you are immune or that you cannot pass on the virus to others.
We have 2 different tests available – an instant test or a test that is sent to the laboratory with results in 24 hours. Both of these tests should be done 14 days or more after you first have symptoms. Please remember that you must self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or longer if you still have a fever.
The test we use is a NADAL® COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test which is legal for use by healthcare professionals in the UK. You will receive your results 10-20 minutes after providing your sample. A healthcare professional will take a blood sample for the test. The test we use shows a sensitivity of 97.4% for IgG antibodies and 86.8% for IgM antibodies and a specificity of 99.3% for IgG and 98.6% for IgM. It is less accurate than a laboratory test but gives a quicker result. Test results must be interpreted by a healthcare professional in conjunction with all available clinical information.
24-hour Laboratory Test
The test we use is the Abbott antibody test which shows a sensitivity of 97.5% and a specificity of 100%. Test results must be interpreted by a healthcare professional in conjunction with all available clinical information. IgG antibodies are produced in the later stages of infection. A healthcare professional will take a blood sample and send it to the laboratory for testing.
Which COVID-19 Test is Right for You?
|COVID-19 PCR Swab Test||Rapid Antibody Blood Test||COVID-19 Antibody Blood Test (Abbott Test)|
|What is it for?||Active infection||Past infection||Past infection|
|How is the sample obtained?||Self-swab sample from the throat or nose at home||Finger-prick blood sample taken by medical professional in Northway Clinic||Blood sample taken by medical professional in Northway Clinic|
|When should I|
do the test?
|If you currently have COVID-19 symptoms or 5 days after potential exposure||14 days or more after you first had symptoms or if you never had symptoms||14 days or more after you first had symptoms or if you never had symptoms|
|What is the accuracy|
of the test?
|When will I get my results?||At least 48 hours after arrival at the lab*||10-15 min||24-48 hrs |
|Will I get a free report with my results?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|£174 (includes postage and packing)||£100 (includes blood taking)||£89 (includes blood taking)|
|How to book the test?||You can order your testing kit HERE||You can book your appointment HERE||You can book your appointment HERE|
*Northway Clinic uses a 3rd party laboratory (TDL) for all pathology tests, including COVID-19 PCR Swabs. While every effort is made to achieve the turn-around times quoted by TDL (2 days) for the conduct of tests, no warranty or guarantee is given that such turn-around times will be achieved in any particular instance. During periods of sustained community transmission when demand for tests is high, the turn-around times are expected to be longer.