There are 2 different tests for coronavirus, PCR swab tests and antibody tests.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
PCR Swab Test
About the Test
This is the test to check if you currently have the disease. A swab is taken from your nose and back of your mouth. If the virus is present in these areas at that time your test will be positive. If the test is positive it is highly likely you currently have coronavirus. In this case you should isolate at home as per current government advice. If the test is negative, you may not have coronavirus. However, there are a lot of false negative results from this test as you can have coronavirus and the virus not be present in the nose and mouth at the time you take the test. It can also be negative if the test is incorrectly taken.
Testing for Travel
As travel restrictions start to lift some countries are asking for coronavirus swabs to be taken prior to or on entry to their country. Most places are asking for a test taken within 72 hours, but up to a week before entry in some cases. A full list of the current recommendations, including whether the UK government advise travel to a particular country can be found on the Foreign and Commonweath Office website:
You should also review the latest advice for coronavirus and travel on the fit for travel website to keep yourself safe on your travels. You can find this information by clicking on the link below:
Testing from North Devon Travel Clinic
If you do require a PCR test North Devon Travel Clinic are able to help with this. The turnaround time of our test is usually within 48 hours from when you take the test, but can be up to 72 hours over the weekend. Our laboratories give us a result within 24 hours of them receiving the test so there are very few travel itineraries that we cannot now meet. Please contact us for more information.
We are able to perform this test outside of our normal clinic hours, 7 days a week, to ensure we can time this appropriately for your needs. We would, however, advise contacting us as soon as you become aware you require the test to allow plenty of time to arrange this in advance of your travels. If you are short of time we will do what we can to help you so do get in touch.
Our testing is currently performed via video consultation so can easily be performed for clients outside of our local area as long as we have time to post the testing kit to you. We also have availability for in clinic testing if you are very anxious about doing the test yourself or need the test to be taken by a clinician for your destination (there will be a small additional fee for this).
Please be aware that we are not able to accept liability for delays to travel plans due to results not being available by the required time. We will however discuss with you all our available testing options and advise you if we do not think we can provide you with a result in time.
Price, which includes a consultation, swab testing kit, postage of your specimen, and a certificate to confirm a negative test result.
Turnaround time 48-72 hours (from taking the test) £130
Turnaround time up to 96 hours (from taking the test) £110
If you require a "fit to fly" certificate this will be an extra charge of £30 and may require an additional consultation.
About the Test
Antibodies are what your body produces if you have had coronavirus. They take 2-3 weeks to develop after you have had the infection. There are currently a variety of antibody tests available. Some of these are taken by a finger prick test and some by a blood test taken from your arm. The finger prick tests have not been approved by the UK government as they have not been proven to be accurate enough, so we would not recommend this as a method of testing. There are now a number of antibody tests that are approved by the UK government that are performed by taking a sample of blood from a vein and sending it to a laboratory.
What Do the Results Mean?
If you have a positive test this means you most likely have had coronavirus at some point and your body has produced antibodies to it. Currently this is all the test means. It does not mean you are immune to the virus or that you can relax your approach to social distancing. As science understands the disease better this may change in time but currently you still must follow the government advice regarding social distancing even if you have a positive test.
If you have a negative test this either means you have not had coronavirus, or it may mean that you have but that either you have but you have either not produced antibodies or the levels of these are too low to detect at the time of the test. It is unclear how soon antibody levels diminish after the infection, but it is thought that it could possibly be as early as 2 months later. Coronavirus is also thought to provoke different parts of the immune system and in some people, this may mean you do not actually produce antibodies at all.
Therefore, with regards to antibody testing at this current time, although you may find the result interesting it cannot currently change adherence to social distancing. Therefore, stay safe, keep social distancing and wash your hands!
Testing at North Devon Travel Clinic
North Devon Travel Clinic is now able to offer you this test, but we would ask you to consider the above information first. Please contact us if you would like more information about this test.