Have I had Covid-19?
The post-infection antibody (serology) blood test.
Our doctor is able to perform blood testing in those aged 16 years and over to see if you have had Covid-19 infection. This is not the PCR nose/throat swab test for to screen for current, active infection. The test we are offering checks if your immune system has encountered Covid-19 in the past few months, by testing a blood sample to see if you have developed an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. Evidence of prior infection with Covid-19 may turn out to be useful for some international travellers making overseas travel visa applications during 2020/early 2021, although the World Health Organisation has not endorsed the test for this purpose.
What is the test?
It is a blood test, taken from the arm by our doctor. The sample is processed at a laboratory. The test looks for IgG antibodies, made by your immune system, against Covid-19. This test works only if it is done 14 days or more after you have become infected. Our doctor will e-mail a copy of the test result to you two days after taking the blood sample and if the test is positive, will also provide you with a doctor's letter to state that you have had a positive Covid-19 antibody test result.
Who is the manufacturer of the test?
Abbott, a well-known U.S. biotechnology company.
How accurate is the test?
The test was evaluated by Public Health England in May 2020 (their conclusions can be found here); a 'positive' result means the patient has had Covid-19 (100% specificity). A 'negative' result is 93.4% likely to be correct (93.4% sensitivity; a small number of people who have had Covid-19 will get a falsely negative test result).
Is it possible to have a positive 'recent infection' test result if you have had Covid-19 infection with no symptoms?
Yes. 20% of people who have had the infection have had no symptoms.
Does proof of recent infection guarantee immunity?
No. Research internationally is ongoing and it is very much a case that 'the jury is still out'. If Covid-19 behaves like related coronaviruses, then based on the experience with those viruses, it is likely that a majority of those who have a positive 'recent infection' test will not be re-infected for months and possibly a year or more, but there remains significant uncertainty around exactly what proportion of recently infected people are protected from re-infection, for how long and whether it is definite that they cannot re-acquire the infection and re-infect others in the future. The 'recent infection' (antibody/serology) test is providing some helpful information but not all the information we wish we could have. Some patients will find a positive test result useful, particularly for administrative reasons related to international travel (travel visa applications) - because a positive test result will suggest that they are likely to have immunity on a temporary basis at least.
Who is this test not suitable for?
- Those with current infection (the test will provide a negative result)
- Those who have had the infection in the past 14 days (the test will provide a negative result)
- At our clinic, we are not offering this test to those aged under 16 years of age.
How much does the test cost?
€90 in total (doctor appointment, sample-taking and communication of results to you).
To book an appointment
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (01) 633 4977.