Superdrug is first high street shop to offer coronavirus antibody blood test given by nurse – but it costs £89
HIGH street retailer Superdrug has become the first in the UK to offer coronavirus antibody blood tests.
The £89 test uses a patient’s blood sample drawn by their nurse in order to determine whether or not they have already been infected with Covid-19.
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Antibody tests were previously only available to order online, but Superdrug has become the first store to offer the tests in person.
The new release comes months after the company was forced to pull its home coronavirus antibody test kits over fears that it could give false results.
In May labs were told to stop processing the tests, as well as other commercial antibody kits, that tell whether you've already been exposed to Covid-19 through a finger-prick blood sample.
The new test however draws a venous blood sample – which is the only type of blood sample used for Covid-19 antibody testing currently in line with government guidelines.
The test is available at 30 Superdrug Health Clinics across the country and the company said it will be rolling the tests out to 12 more in the coming weeks.
Patients will have to book an appointment in order to take the test that Superdrug says has a sensitivity of 97.5 per cent.
It claims the test will detect positive antibodies 97.5 per cent of the time, with a small percentage going undetected.
This could be for a number of reasons such as there not being enough immune response developed by the individual.
People that fall into this category will be informed that they don’t have antibodies but will be able to take the test at another time.
The tests have a specificity of 100 per cent which means a positive result is specific to Covid-19.
There is no cross activity between other viruses such as the flu.
Superdrug Online doctors review the tests and then send messages to patients informing them of the outcome.
The phlebotomy tests start with a patient booking an appointment, they will then be asked to fill out a short questionnaire.
Once the appointment is approved a patient will be invited to a clinic and a nurse will check ID as well as completing a risk assessment for venous draw.
Blood will then be collected by a trained nurse.
It is then down to the patient to take the blood sample and post it to the lab using a pre-paid tracking slip.
The sample will then be tested and analysed by Superdrug doctors within 48 hours of the sample arriving at the lab.
Results will then be communicated to patients within three days.
Fabulous columnist Dr Zoe Williams said the test provides people a choice outside of the NHS to find out whether or not they have mounted an immune response to Covid-19.
She said: “There is no strong evidence yet to assure those who have a positive antibody test are immune.
"Having antibodies does not mean that social distancing rules apply any differently to you, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee that you can’t transmit the virus to others.
“Despite this many people ‘just want to know’ and are willing to pay to find out and Superdrug has now provided this option.”
Antibody testing which requires finger prick testing is still under review.
The new service from Superdrug is available to anyone over the age of 18.
If you want to take the test but have recently developed Covid-19 symptoms then you should wait 14 days.
However if you have never had symptoms or if you haven’t had symptoms recently then you can take the test at any time.
Michael Henry, Superdrug’s healthcare director added: “Receiving a positive antibody test result does not however confer immunity, and it’s important that people understand that it does not mean you can be any more relaxed with the required hygiene and social distancing measures as set out by the government.”
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