Covid-19 Testing at the Brook Surgery – September 2020
There are currently two types Covid-19 tests offered at The Brook Surgery. They are for registered patients and can be done in a consultation with a doctor or remotely at home. Any patient not currently registered with the practice will need to register as part of arranging any testing. The cost of registration is £35.
PCR Antigen Swab for patients WITH symptoms -£120 (the “have I got it” test)
A throat & nasal swab looking for the presence of Coronavirus Antigen (Virus material). Positive in >80% of symptomatic COVID patients taking a decent swab reaching the back of the throat & nose. This can be done at home by the patient (courier charges not included), or in the clinic by a doctor in full personal protective equipment (supplement charge £65). This test is the same as that being used in the NHS testing centres around the country. It is used to test symptomatic patients (adults & children of all ages), and can be used to screen well people with a Covid contact or wanting peace of mind that they do not have the virus incubating.
Please note as clinicians we are not prepared to only swab symptomatic patients. Therefore symptomatic patients will need to be assessed clinically in a full price consultation.
We are using two different laboratories with different prices:
Abbott IgG Antibody Blood Test- £70/test (the “Did I have it” test)
The body makes antibodies during infection and their presence afterwards both confirms that the patient suffered Covid-19 exposure and has developed some immunity to prevent reinfection. There is no certainty that Covid-19 immunity is lasting but at the time of writing only a very few patients have suffered reinfection (and those have not been seriously ill), and in previous epidemics of different Coronavirus infections, antibodies were still present at 36 months. People with IgG antibodies are therefore at very low risk of reinfection and should not become infective to others. The Abbott IgG antibody test is 98.5% sensitive (false positives) and 100% specific (false negatives). This test is verified by the UK government.
Public Health England has initiated an investigation into the use of fingerprick sampling kit used for this test on May 26th 2020. The only way to use this test is therefore from a venous blood draw at home or in the clinic.
It is similar to the test currently used for measles/chickenpox etc. It gives a positive or negative result rather than an antibody level from which one can confer levels/degrees of immunity.
Anyone interested in arranging screening in the workplace should refer to the Corporate Testing page as a range of options are available with variable price options.
The government has now authorised the use of the PCR swab & some antibody tests (Roche & Abbot). The swab results are currently forwarded to Public Health England and contribute to the national statistics of cases. A positive antibody test of either kind will not yet give a patient a certificate or passport to be allowed to breach the lockdown rules, and this is our advice as well that of Public Health England.
At present, no one knows what kind of lasting immunity is provided by the presence of IgM or IgG antibodies. It is inferred from other infections that a patient with IgG antibodies is protected from re-infection, but no current data exists to confirm whether this is the case with Covid-19.