Covid-19 Antibody Blood Test (IgG/IgM)
Our antibody blood tests gives a quantitative measurement of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in your blood serum. Unlike a rapid antibody test this determines both the presence and the level of antibodies to the covid-19 virus. This will tell you if you have previously been infected and if you have potentially developed a level of immunity to the virus.
We offer our regular Covid-19 testing at our numerous regional clinics, however, our quantitative antibody blood test is only available at our Marylebone and Reading clinic. Select your nearest clinic below to book a test.
Please read our booking terms and conditions before making an appointment.
No refund will be issued if you cancel within 24 hours prior to the day of the test.
Partial refund (50%) will be issued if you cancel within 48 hours prior to the day of the test.
Full refund will be issued if you cancel 48 hours prior to the day of the test.
Administrative charge of £10 will be charged for processing refunds.
Please allow 5-10 business days for transfer.
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Covid-19 Antibody Blood Test (IgG/IgM)
What is an antibody?
An antibody is a Y-shaped protein that is designed to seek out and destroy viruses and bacteria in the body. Specific antibodies are effective against unique antigens and invading foreign bodies. So, you have many types of antibodies within your system.
What is an antibody test?
An antibody test or immunoglobulin test will look for specific antibodies relating to certain diseases. So, an antibody test for COVID-19 can tell someone whether they have had the virus recently. It works by analysing a blood sample.
What is COVID-19 antibody blood testing?
Antibody testing measures the number of antibodies or immunoglobulins A, G, and M (IgA, IgG, IgM) in the blood.
The first time a person is infected with Covid-19 or another foreign substance, their immune system identifies the virus or substance as “non-self” or not part of your body. And it stimulates plasma cells to produce specific immunoglobulin(s), also called antibodies, to bind and neutralize the threat. When exposed in the future, the immune system “remembers” the substance or the virus that was encountered. This allows your immune system to fight back and protect your body more quickly in the future.
What is a COVID-19 IgM/IgG antibody protein?
These are just different types of antibodies.
- Immunoglobulin M (IgM) – IgM antibodies are produced as a body’s first response to a new infection and provide short-term protection. They increase for several weeks and then slow as the other kind takes over. They can last up to 12 weeks.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG) – Most of our antibodies are IgG. Our body keeps a catalogue of IgG antibodies that can be rapidly reproduced whenever exposed to the same virus or foreign substance. IgG antibodies form the basis of long-term protection against infection. In those with a normal immune system, enough IgG is produced to prevent re-infection. Vaccinations use this process to prevent initial infections and add to the catalogue of IgG antibodies. They do this by exposing a person to a damaged, live microorganism or to an antigen that helps your body recognise and fight it.
How do you test for COVID-19 antibodies?
We use the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S test to count the number of antibodies (including IgG) to the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the blood. High quantities of these proteins mean you have a lot of antibodies against SARS‑CoV‑2 or COVID-19.
How long do the COVID-19 antibodies last?
At the moment, we don’t know. It depends on the immune system and viral load of the individual. In some individuals, specific antibodies can last up to 12 months.
How long does a COVID-19 antibody blood test take?
We offer a simple, rapid antibody test that takes seconds to collect with results in 20 minutes. For more complex requirements, a venous blood draw antibody test takes 5 minutes and provides results in 36 hours.
What are the different types of COVID-19 antibody tests?
There are many COVID-19 antibody test options available. We use Roche Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S protein kit called the Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S immunoassay. You may also see Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM total antibody tests, SARS-CoV-2 IgG tests, and the SARS-CoV-2 IgM test.
Are there any differences between COVID-19 antibodies and post-vaccine antibodies?
Any antibodies fighting Covid-19 are specific to that virus. This is regardless of if they came from a previous infection or a vaccination. The only difference is the concentration of these antibodies and their durability. There are several advantages from a vaccine (and post-vaccine antibodies) which can help the body fight the infection with less side effects.
If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, can you ignore lockdown restrictions?
No. At this time, everyone must follow COVID-19 measures even if they have had the virus, have antibodies or have been vaccinated.
There is no evidence yet to suggest that those who’ve had the virus are immune. This is the position of the World Health Organisation. You should continue to comply with social distancing measures and government guidelines. All infection prevention and control measures must continue unless otherwise advised.
What will happen to my information?
Well, you’ll get a copy of your results, first and foremost. Your results will also get reported to the Department of Health anonymously. The anonymised results across the testing programme provide information on the prevalence of COVID-19 in different regions of the country. This will help us better understand how the disease spreads. The test results will be used anonymously across the health and social care setting.
Are there any risks to having the test?
There are some risks related to having a blood test in general. This includes feeling dizzy and faint during and after the test. But there are no specific risks related to this antibody test itself. Risks can also include bruising at the venepuncture site. Serious complications such as an infection at the site where blood was taken, and phlebitis (swelling of the vein) are possible but generally extremely unlikely.
When should I take a COVID-19 antibody blood test?
Get tested 14 days after you’ve been exposed, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. This is due to the long incubation period of COVID-19.
Do I need a COVID-19 antibody blood test to travel? And which antibody test do they require?
Some countries require antibody tests or antibody passports. It is important to check with the destination country and airline before travelling. But as an example, China requires a simple antibody test for entry into the country. Hungary uses antibody passports to allow unrestricted access to the cinema, pubs and restaurants. And the USA requires proof of a negative test or recovery to enter.
Do I need a COVID-19 antibody blood test to go to pubs, restaurants, and events?
That is not the current guidance in the UK. But you may need an antibody test to participate in sports or visit some venues in other countries. Please check with the event organisers or your travel provider for more information.
Does the presence of COVID-19 antibodies mean I will not get Covid-19?
Having the antibodies does not stop you from getting the virus. However, there is some evidence to suggest the symptoms will be lessened in a similar way to a vaccination. It’s too soon to tell. There are big differences between people based on their immune system and virus exposure.
Can I get a “booster” injection after my COVID-19 vaccination?
Plans are being made to offer booster shots for COVID-19 to the most vulnerable in the UK ahead of winter. This is similar to how the flu shot works now.
How regularly can I/should I get an COVID-19 antibody blood test?
You can get a test as often as you like. Personal circumstances like exposure and vulnerability mean at-risk individuals may decide to get more frequent tests than those less vulnerable.
What do antibody test results mean?
A positive COVID-19 antibody result
A positive antibody test demonstrates that someone has developed antibodies to COVID-19. The presence of antibodies signals that the body has staged an immune response to the virus. Covid-19 is a new disease, and our understanding of the body’s immune response to it is limited. We do not know, for example, how long an antibody response lasts or if having antibodies means you can’t transmit the virus to others. Our understanding of the virus will grow as new scientific evidence and studies emerge. An antibody test result can only tell an individual whether they have had the virus in the past. Antibody tests are also being used in surveillance studies to understand what proportion of the population has already had the virus.
A negative COVID-19 antibody result
A negative antibody test signals that the body has NOT staged an immune response to the virus. No antibodies are present, and you are at risk of contracting the virus.
How will I be informed of my COVID-19 antibody blood test result?
You will be notified of the result by email to the address you provided in the booking process.