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Covid-19

Testing has become a vital part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic

 

iHomeCare provides testing for coronavirus (Covid-19).

THREE distinct types of testing are available – all tests are carried out by registered medical practitioners

RAPID ANTIGEN testing – Do you need an instant result on whether your staff have COVID-19, even though they may not be symptomatic, so that you are detecting cases at the earliest opportunity and operating a secure workplace by preventing the spread of the virus? (weekly testing schedule provided)

PCR testing – Do you need to know if you are actively infected with COVID-19 at the present time? (are you symptomatic? do you need to travel?)

ANTIBODY testing – Do you want to know if you have been exposed to the virus in the past and have detectable antibodies?

 

 

ANTIBODY testing

What sort of test is the antibody test?

Our ANTIBODY tests establish if you have ever had COVID-19 in the PAST by identifying immune cells known as antibodies, which are produced in response to the virus. 

This test is DIFFERENT from the swab test you get when you have symptoms of COVID-19.

 

What happens with the test?

The test requires a small, finger prick blood sample, similar to those used for diabetic blood-glucose tests, and you get the results in 10 minutes.

To ensure a standardised approach, the test is carried out by a registered healthcare professional who will visit you at home, or at your workplace.

 

How accurate are these tests?

In a series of trials at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital in London, our tests were shown to accurately diagnose negative results (a metric known as specificity) 100% of the time.

The tests can diagnose positive results (known as sensitivity) 100 % of the time; 14-20 days after the person had a positive Covid-19 result in their swab test. (For more information, please see link below.)

Does a positive test guarantee immunity?

As with any Covid-19 antibody test, a positive result does not guarantee immunity. It confirms that the person has been infected with the virus at some point in the past and currently has antibodies in their system.

Covid-19 is a novel virus.  Scientists are still working to understand how long the antibodies last and the extent to which they confer immunity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that anyone who gets a positive result in an antibody test should NOT consider themselves to be immune, and should continue to comply with social distancing measures and government guidelines to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

 

 

PCR -

Polymerase chain reaction test

What sort of test is a PCR?

The PCR test looks for evidence that COVID-19 virus is currently in your body, by detecting the presence of its genetic code in a swab sample from your nose/throat.

 

PCR tests are the GOLD standard approach if a person is symptomatic with COVID-19 at the current time.

 

 

What happens with the test?

A cotton tip swab is inserted first in to the throat and then the nose.  In order to capture enough cells, the swab needs to be in the throat and nose for a few seconds at a time.  You can expect to feel that the process is irritating, but otherwise comfortable.  The sample is then sent by the team to the laboratory for analysis.

 

When the sample reaches the lab, a solution known as a ‘reagent’ is added to it. If there is virus present, the reagent starts a ‘chain reaction’ and creates billions of copies of the genetic material in the virus so that it can be detected and analysed by scientists.

The test usually takes 24 hours to return (this will be dependent on the volume of tests received by the laboratory at any given time)

The PCR test can only tell us if the virus is currently present in the body.  It cannot tell if you have had the virus in the past.

The PCR test is MOST sensitive within 5 days of the onset of symptoms and become less reliable after this as the viral load decreases.  It only measures the moment in time that the person is tested.

How accurate are these tests?

Our PCR tests are delivered in partnership with the Doctors Laboratory, London.  The Doctors Laboratory is a medically-led laboratory with a reputation for excellence in providing quality accredited pathology services to the UK and across the world.

 

The sensitivity of a clinical test refers to the ability of the test to correctly identify those patients with the disease.  Our PCR tests show a minimum of 98% efficacy in detecting a positive COVID case.

The specificity of a clinical test refers to the ability of the test to correctly identify those patients without the disease.  Our tests have demonstrated 100% specificity in correctly identifying all patients that do NOT have the virus.

As with all viral PCR tests, it is possible that patients with very low viral loads may not be detected as positive.  One negative (or ‘NOT detected’) result alone does not definitively mean that there is no infection present. Therefore in cases where there is a strong clinical suspicion of an early COVID-19 infection, repeat sampling should be considered 24-48 hours later.

 

 

RAPID ACCESS

antigen testing

What sort of test is the RAPID antigen test?

The RAPID antigen tests detect if the COVID-19 virus is actively present in the body.  They are different from PCR tests in how they are delivered and how they identify the virus. 

The test detects specific proteins, known as antigens on the surface of the virus.  RAPID antigen tests work best when the person has high levels of virus infection.  This is crucial, as this specific phase is when the person is most likely to transmit the virus to other people.  They are therefore optimal as a SCREENING tool as a preventative measure, for example in the workplace.

In order to screen for the changing levels of antigens at the earliest possible opportunity, the key to RAPID access testing is therefore REGULAR, REPEAT testing with a FAST turnaround e.g. weekly testing.

Our RAPID access tests offer a fast, cost effective, work place based solution to COVID-19 screening. 

 

What happens with the test?

Our RAPID access tests can be carried out anywhere and DO NOT require a laboratory.  

A swab is used to sample from either the nose or throat (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal sample) and then it is introduced into the test cassette by suspension in a buffer solution.  The test will indicate, by the presence of a line on the cassette, whether the virus is present.

Multiple tests can be carried out at one time, which lends to the efficiency of the process for larger scale testing.

The person tested will receive a YES/NO result in 15 minutes and the result can be delivered on site at this time.

 

 

How accurate are these tests?

Due to the nature of how RAPID access works, their accuracy is directly linked to the frequency of how often an individual can be tested.  The effectiveness of the approach increases if a person can be tested on a regular basis, monitoring the levels of antigens as they change.

Our RAPID access tests offer 95% sensitivity (the ability to detect a positive result).  Our service is enhanced as we operate using a state of the art immunofluorescent cassette reader that offers a significantly superior procedure when compared to the basic cassette test.

How can I arrange my test?

Email: info@ihomecare.co or call directly 02037199784

 

Kind regards,

Neil Higgins

Managing Director, iHomeCare

 

We thank the researchers and clinicians from King’s College London and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospital and anyone helping or supporting this work. For the full study please visit:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.02.20120345v1.full.pdf

Thanks for your enquiry

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