Your guide to COVID-19 testing 

The Antigen PCR Test

  • Tests for the presence of virus in your body. You may be asked to do this test to confirm if you currently have COVID-19
  • This test works best between 2 days before and 7 days after your symptom
  • Test can be carried out using: Nose swaps & Throat swabs
  • Positive: Confirms you currently have the virus and must self-isolate or seek medical assistance if unwell - this does not tell you how ill you might become or when you got the virus.
  • Negative: Test is only 75% accurate - if you are experiencing symptoms you may be asked to be re-tested 2-3 days later and continue to be isolated - if it has been more than 10 days since your symptoms started, you might be asked to also have an antibody test.

The Antibody test

  • Test if you have been previously infected with the virus and have had an immune response.
  • This test works best at least 14 days following your first symptoms.
  • Test can be carried out using: A blood sample
  • Positive: You have previously had the virus and had an immune response - this does not tell you  if you are protected from becoming ill again if exposed to COVID-19, or how long protection may last for
  • Negative: It is likely you have not had COVID-19. However, the test is only around 80% accurate in mild disease (but higher in severe disease), so there is a 20% chance that you have have had COVID-19, but the test has not detected an antibody response.