at the laboratory

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Antibody Testing

Your immune system produces antibodies when it is fighting an infection. Serology testing detects these antibodies, within blood, which remain after you have recovered from an infection, giving you an indication if you have previously had COVID-19. The test is a laboratory test, which requires a healthcare professional to procure a small sample of blood which is sent to the laboratory for analysis. These tests have been approved by Public Health England (PHE) and authorised by the FDA. Utilising specific testing equipment, only available in laboratories, these tests are proven to be over 99% accurate.

How does this differ to antigen testing?

Unlike the antibody test, an antigen test looks for the virus itself and is used to determine if someone currently has COVID-19 and therefore could potentially transmit the infection to others. This test is currently being provided by the UK government to people with confirmed or suspected symptoms of COVID-19. The samples are taken in a clinical setting using swabs to collect samples via the mouth and nose.

Abbott Diagnostics are experts in developing pioneering technology. Advancing medical diagnostics by creating, innovative, first-to-market products. Abbott Diagnostics have experience across a number of healthcare operations – including laboratories, hospitals, blood banks and clinics.

Abbott Diagnostics began collaborations with the NHS, public health bodies and supply private testing equipment and kits to laboratories such as Future Health Biobank. The test has been validated by Abbott Diagnostics as providing 100% sensitivity and 99.5% specificity for COVID-19 antibodies when performed at least 14 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. The test has been independently authorised under an Emergency Use Authorisation by the FDA independently evaluated by PHE and holds a CE mark to certify that it complies with EU safety rules and can be used across laboratories within the UK.

How do I get a test?

Premier Clinic is able to offer this test to anyone who is well, not currently displaying or experiencing symptoms. The test is accurate 14 days from the first day that COVID-19 symptoms first appeared. We will arrange a trained healthcare professional to collect your blood sample and return it to our laboratory for testing. Once received in our laboratory in Nottingham, we will perform the SARS-CoV-2 IgG test and contact you with your results within 48 – 72 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

The test being used is validated by Abbott Laboratories and has been approved by the MHRA and Public Health England (PHE), when performed according to the kit insert supplied with the test kit.

2-3 days from receipt of the sample at the Future Health laboratory.

You will need to discuss reimbursement individually with your employer.

  • Results should be used in conjunction with other data; e.g., symptoms, results of other tests, and clinical impressions.
  • Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in those who have been in contact with the virus. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection in these individuals.
  • Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status.
  • Non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43, or 229E, have not been evaluated with this assay. In a population of patients with non-COVID-19 respiratory illnesses, no cross-reactivity has been observed.
  • Specimens from patients who have received preparations of mouse monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis or therapy may contain human anti-mouse antibodies (HAMA). Such specimens may show either falsely elevated or depressed values when tested with assay kits such as SARS-CoV-2 IgG that employ mouse monoclonal antibodies.
  • Heterophilic antibodies in human serum can react with reagent immunoglobulins, interfering with in vitro immunoassays. Patients routinely exposed to animals or to animal serum products can be prone to this interference, and anomalous values may be observed.
  • Rheumatoid factor (RF) in human serum can react with reagent immunoglobulins, interfering with in vitro immunoassays. 

Immune-compromised patients who have COVID-19 may have a delayed antibody response and produce levels of antibody which may not be detected as positive by the assay.

Scientifically unknown at this time.

Test performed by Future Health Technologies using the Abbott Architect i2000SR.

Client data will be held by Future Health Technologies in accordance with GDPR.


Finger-prick type testing for COVID-19 for Lateral Flow (those similar to at-home Pregnancy testing kits), Home-Collection and Point of Care have drawn some criticism in the recent past for their inability to meet the claims made for the performance of their kits, or for offering a lower sensitivity and specificity of laboratory-grade tests. Factors critical to ensuring the quality and confidence therein of the result produced. This situation could be due to interference from haemolysis, collection site contamination and/or quality of the testing and collection methods themselves that could erode confidence in our results. However; blood drawn by trained, professional phlebotomists helps to guarantee collection factors such as these are avoided and that the quality of the sample ensures the best performance of the test. This blood samples is then centrifuged to separate the serum and plasma components that improve the quality of the tested material prior to testing. A phlebotomist-drawn blood sample also offers greater volume to mitigate further some of the interfering blood products that may occur, or diluting their effects over a greater volume. This is established best practice for almost all laboratory-grade testing systems. Whilst we appreciate the convenience that home collection or lateral flow devices offer, on balance we would prefer to offer an overall testing method that more closely guarantees the accuracy of your result and one which gives our customers greater confidence in the outcome of their test.

Blood sample must be collected by a trained HCP into an EDTA tube.

PHE have approved the test with a 99.73% specificity and 93.90% sensitivity when performed .14 days following onset of symptoms.

Scientifically unknown at this time. Test indicates whether patient has antibodies consistent with previous exposure to Covid-19. Detection of these antibodies does not confirm immunity to Covid-19 infection.

See below from Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG test kit insert:

IgG antibodies indicative of previous exposure to virus.

If there are antibodies in your blood, it means you have had Covid-19, and you may be immune to getting it again. But nobody knows what level of immunity is conferred, whether some people have an antibody response that gives them greater immunity than other people and how long that immunity lasts.

Scientifically unknown at this time.

Yes, as long as the sample is received in a validated tube type as per the instructions.

Samples are discarded into clinical waste and securely destroyed.

At least 14 days must have elapsed from onset of symptoms.