Frequently Asked Questions – Covid 19 Tests

What is a PCR test?

A PCR test, sometimes called an antigen test, looks for signs of active virus in your body.  The test will tell you if you are positive or negative for Coronavirus (Covid-19). The PCR test can be performed at home by yourself or we can arrange for a clinician to carry this out for you – but it is more reliable if a clinician performs the test.

What does it entail?

The test requires taking a swab from the throat and nose, this sample will then be sent to an approved laboratory for analysis using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The chances of detecting the virus are highest in the days surrounding the start of any symptoms.  Ideally samples should be taken from symptomatic individuals between days 1-5 from symptom onset, however, there are many cases when virus can be detected later into the illness.

How long does it take to get my results?

It takes 24-48 hours to return the result once the laboratory receives the sample back.

How accurate are these tests?

The tests used in our Laboratory are PHE (Public Health England) evaluated and show a minimum sensitivity greater than 99% and a specificity of greater than 99% when the virus is on the swab with no cross-reactivity with other viruses. This is when the test is performed correctly.

This test is free with the NHS, why is yours different?

The NHS test only gives a result of positive or negative and does not produce any certification to prove this.  Our test process also includes biometric identity verification and provides the result in a digital smartphone wallet with certification of the result, and is proven to be more effective than the NHS test. The ability to present the result in a digital wallet will enable you to show that you do not have the virus.

There is a new test taking 90 minutes, do you provide this?

This test is not yet available and may be the end of 2020 before it is distributed.  Whilst this test takes 90 minutes to process at the laboratory as opposed to 150 minutes for our PCR test, the logistics of transferring samples to the lab for analysis, and getting the results back ,will not be affected. The laboratory then has to process the test using the Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification test (LAMP) for the result so you need to add this time onto the 90 minutes.  Getting the test to the lab can be done one of two ways: you could have a pop up laboratory at your business with a lab technician to process the results, or they will need to be sent to the lab which will take time.

What Professional Indemnity Insurance do you have as a company?

Screen4 offer PI insurance cover of £5 million. The S4Encrypt PI cover is set at £2 million.

What about travelling abroad, what proof can you provide of the test?

Now that overseas travel has resumed, you may find that you require a PCR test and a laboratory certificate to prove that you are Covid-19 free.

Countries across the globe have enforced local restrictions and they recommend that people travelling need to have a PCR test carried out 72-96 hours prior to travelling!  We can provide you with the testing and the certification for this.

PHE Evaluated Antibody Testing   

What is it?

An antibody test looks for things called antibodies in your blood. Your body makes these when it fights an infection, like Covid-19. The same thing happens when you get a vaccine, like a flu jab. That is how you build immunity to a virus.

The antibody test is not checking for the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system (your body’s defence against illness) has responded to the infection. The antibody test can be performed at your workplace by a fully qualified / trained phlebotomist.

 How long does it take to get my results?

It takes 24-48 hrs to return the result once the laboratory receives the sample back.

How accurate is this test?

Our antibody test, which uses the Roche immuno-assay and has a specificity greater than 99.8% and 100% sensitivity (14 Days post-PCR confirmation), can help assess patients’ immune response to the virus. As more is understood about immunity to SARS-CoV-2, the test may help to assess who has built up immunity to the virus.

The high specificity of the test is crucial to determine reliably if a person has been exposed to the virus and if the patient has developed antibodies. 

How quickly can we arrange a visit by a nurse for testing?

Usually within a week to 10 days.  Urgent requests can also be accommodated, since if you have an outbreak and need to test all your staff, the PCR test will be used.  We can either post this out to individuals or attend on site with a clinician to administer the test.

One thought on “FAQs”

  1. Helpful answers to some of the many questions surrounding the issues relating to Covid-19, and the options for returning to normal activity with minimum risk. We believe that employers should undertake Covid-19 antibody tests for all of their employees who may come into contact with colleagues or members of the public. If an employee tests positive for the antibody, it won’t be necessary to carry out the PCR test for the virus.

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