Picture Tim Dickeson 14-03-2007 Dr Jo Longstaff and Dr Jeff Thomas who are to start a private surgery at The Sancta Maria Private Hospital, Swansea

The Independent General Practice has collaborated with Infectious Disease Consultant Dr Sharon Marlowe to launch its Covid-19 antibody testing service. In response to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, the IGP now offers the at-home test kits, which have 99.6% sensitivity and 100% specificity, for those suspecting they may have had Coronavirus.

The finger prick test is available via the IGP website and is sent directly to a patient’s home. Once the sample is received by the laboratory, test results will be available within 24 hours, via a secure patient portal along with a guide explaining the outcome.

The blood tests have been designed by Abbott Architect; the US’s largest and most longstanding scientific testing companies and are processed by the leading independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK, The Doctor Laboratory (TDL) London. The test has been granted the CE stamp by the EU and both have been awarded Public Health England, Scotland and Wales approval for official use in the UK.

The IGP, which recently reintroduced some face-to-face appointments following its remote online consultation service during lockdown, advises testing is undertaken 14 days or more following exposure or onset of symptoms. Dr Joanna Longstaffe, Clinical Director of the Independent General Practice, said: “These antibody tests are essentially designed for those who suspect they have already contracted Covid-19 coronavirus or have been in contact with someone that has had it. They may also give some information about people who have had no symptoms of the infection but have developed an immune response to it. From blood samples provided, the laboratories can detect specific IgG antibodies that are produced in the later stages of infection to SARS-CoV-2. The persistence of IgG antibodies allows identification of people who have been infected by, or developed immunity to, the virus.

“By identifying individuals who have built some immune response to Covid-19, we can help inform contact-tracing and shed light on those who may become immune to the virus. We are also hoping that the information we gather, in auditing these tests, will go some way toward helping ongoing research into long term immunity against the virus. We still do not know enough about the Covid-19 infection for a positive antibody test result to give any clear indication of ongoing immunity – but it is a start.”

Dr Marlowe has said “We have been waiting for a highly sensitive and specific serological test, as this is a key tool in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease.”

The IGP has clinics in Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol, but antibody tests and remote consultation services are available to patients across the UK.

If you are currently experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 disease, or know that you have been in contact with somebody who has the disease, you should have a PCR swab / antigen test.

For more information about the home tests, visit https://www.sales.theindependentgeneralpractice.co.uk/product-page/covid-19-antibody-home-test. For on-site workplace testing, call 03456 252 252 or email enquiries@theigp.co.uk.

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