Antibody (blood) test

Antibody testing is part of the Government’s testing programme and may play an increasingly important role as we move into the next phase of responding to the pandemic.

Antibody testing is available to anyone over the age of 18 who has taken a PCR test and got a positive result or anyone participating in antibody research or surveys.  It is no longer generally available to NHS staff, regardless of their role. People must register for an antibody test via the national online portal where it is now an option when applying for a PCR test.

Current evidence seems to suggest that those who have had the virus do not develop long-lasting immunity which would prevent them from getting the virus again, as it is possible for people to get COVID-19 a second time. Antibody testing at this stage is useful primarily to improve our understanding about the spread of the virus.

Antibody testing is available to staff working in paid adult social care. This applies to all staff working in local authorities and independent providers. Guidance and a video have been made available for adult social care staff who sign up for an antibody test and are sent an antibody home test kit. Coronavirus antibody testing home test kit: taking a blood sample.

In order to better understand the role that an antibody test could play in our response to the epidemic, we need to improve our understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus that causes Covid-19. This is being done through antibody research and surveys. We do not currently know how long an antibody response to the virus lasts.

Testing positive after an antibody test does not, therefore, mean you are immune. Anyone who tests positive with an antibody test must continue to follow Government guidelines to protect themselves and others. They must continue to:

  • wash their hands regularly (for at least 20 seconds),
  • follow social distancing guidance where these remain in place (usually health and care environments),
  • wear face coverings where this requirement remains in place and in crowded in-door locations,
  • wear PPE in all the circumstances it was worn previously (where applicable)
  • and get tested if they have any symptoms.

Having a positive antibody test does not mean you cannot get the virus again.

Our understanding of the virus will grow as new scientific evidence and studies emerge.

 

Antibody testing is available to NHS staff and patients in the same way as it is available to the public in general, which is for anyone who has tested positive via a PCR test or if they are taking part in a survey or research.

Antibody testing is voluntary.

The antibody test is a blood test and can now be done at home using a fingerprick home-test kit. There is no strong evidence of long-lasting immunity. If you have had the antibody test and the result was positive (it showed you have had the virus) you should still wear PPE as necessary and continue to follow any social distancing guidance applicable in your workplace or other venues you visit.

Antibody testing is chiefly for surveillance and should not be used to curb swab testing programmes in any way.

Antibody test request form.

The Govt have launched a new antibody testing service. Anyone who works in paid adult social care (includes staff working in residential care, domiciliary care, extra care, supported living, local authority adult social care departments and staff working as personal assistants for individuals who receive adult social care services) can sign up for a free antibody test and will be offered a test via a home test kit. Guidance on how to take a blood sample using the antibody home test kit has been made available

Testing is voluntary. Access is via an online portal and testing in undertaken at home using the home blood test kit. The access portal checks for eligibility when registering for an antibody test. The antibody test kit is posted to your home address with full instructions, which can take a few weeks following registration. A positive antibody test result (it showed you have had the virus) means you should still wear PPE as necessary and continue to follow hand washing and other infection prevention guidance.

Antibody tests are not currently available for care home residents. 

Antibody testing is chiefly for surveillance and should not be used to curb swab testing programmes in any way. 

The antibody test is not generally available for essential workers apart from those who work in adult social care or who have tested positive using a PCR test, or are participating in antibody research or surveys. Testing is voluntary. The antibody test is a fingerprick test done at home. The access portal checks for eligibility when registering for an antibody test. The antibody test kit is posted to your home address with full instructions, which can take a few weeks following registration

A positive antibody test result (it showed you have had the virus) means you should still wear PPE as necessary and continue to follow infection prevention guidance.

Antibody testing is chiefly for surveillance and should not be used to curb swab testing programmes in any way.

The antibody test is not currently available for the general public other than those who are over 18 and have tested positive using a PCR test (the option to take an antibody test is now available when applying for a PCR test using the national online portal), or are participating in antibody research or surveys. Testing is voluntary. The antibody test is a fingerpick test done at home. The access portal checks for eligibility when registering for an antibody test. The antibody test kit is posted to your home address with full instructions, which can take a few weeks following registration.

A positive antibody test result (it showed you have had the virus) means you should still wear PPE as necessary and continue to follow infection prevention guidance and advice.

Antibody testing is chiefly for surveillance and should not be used to curb testing programmes in any way.

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