NHS Says Don't Buy High Street Coronavirus Antibody Tests Just Yet

By Gary Cutlack on at

Times have changed so quickly that there's now a Covid-19 antibody test available on the high street, although the NHS says maybe don't waste your money on it just yet as no one's sure if it really helps in any way.

Superdrug is selling a Coronavirus Antibody Test Kit for £69 plus £3.99 delivery, which gets you a blood sampling kit. Users take then send their blood sample off to Superdrug's "accredited partner laboratory" and wait for results. But the results may be of little use, thinks NHS England medical director Stephen Powis, who told the daily health briefing audience: "I would caution against using any tests that might be made available without knowing quite how good those tests are... I would caution people against being tempted to have those tests."

The problem is twofold; no one knows if having antibodies grants you superhero-like invulnerability against additional infection (and if it does for how long), plus a positive test doesn't mean you're over it and aren't still able pass it on to anyone else, as you may well be spewing virus out all over the place. Superdrug says its test has a 97.5 per cent reliability rate when detecting antibodies, though, so the test does appear to at least tick the boxes for being genuine and actually working. [Superdrug via BBC]