What we measure
This test measures the antibodies in your blood that are produced to fight off COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins made as part of the body’s immune response that work to eliminate viruses from your system. Specific antibodies are made for specific viruses, and those relating to COVID-19 are generated both after you’ve been infected and receive the vaccine.
This test can indicate whether you’ve previously had COVID-19 or received the vaccine.
When the body is infected with a virus this sets the immune response into gear. Antibodies are produced as part of this process, which work to remove parts of the virus (known as antigens) from the body. They’re our first line of defence against perceived threats and invaders.
The COVID-19 vaccine works by triggering the immune response to the virus without you actually being infected, so that you build natural immunity. Antibodies are generated in this instance, too.
After being infected, it can take a bit of time for your body to make enough antibodies to show up in a test. It’s recommended that you wait 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus before getting tested.
If the test picks up COVID-19 antibodies, this is a sign that you’ve either previously been infected with the virus or have recently had the vaccine.
what to expect
Your results will tell you whether COVID-19 antibodies are present in your blood, which suggests either that you’ve previously been infected by the virus or have recently had the vaccine.
This test can’t tell you whether you’re currently infected.
Antibodies are just one measure of your natural immunity to the virus, alongside other types of cells which fight infection. Even if you have high antibodies, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re protected against the virus.
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Tell the GP what the problem is during your consultation and they’ll take it from there. Prescriptions can be picked up at your local pharmacy.
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The word “antigen” simply refers to any substance that triggers the immune response: it could be a virus, chemical, or bacteria, for example. A COVID-19 antigen test looks for signs of the virus itself and can be used to identify a current infection.
On the other hand, an antibody is a protein the immune system makes in response to infection, and it can take a few weeks for your body to make enough to show up on a test. So, an antibody test is used to identify infections that happened in the past, or to see if you’ve recently had the vaccine.
They can stay in your system for months. Some studies say they can hang around for over 8 months, while in others they’ve been found up to a year after infection.
Yes. While high antibodies may suggest a degree of immunity to COVID-19, this doesn’t mean you’re totally protected and it’s possible that you could still get infected. Once you’re infected, there’s a risk you can transmit the infection to others.
If done correctly and at least a few weeks after being exposed to the virus, COVID-19 antibody tests are generally considered accurate.
Tuli tests meet high standards for quality and safety. We are CQC registered, which is a quality mark for health services you can trust, UKAS accredited, and use advanced encryption techniques to protect your medical information. Each of our tests is validated by registered doctors and clinical scientists.