We keep hearing about the importance of testing, especially as we start to tracvel again, but can we rely on Coronavirus test results? As with all testing, nothing can determine 100% accuracy. Here we discuss why that is and how accurate Coronavirus testing is.
Are Coronavirus Tests Accurate?
There are varying reported levels of accuracy of Coronavirus testing due to the complex nature of clinical testing, individual body responses & in the sampling processes of different tests.
The accuracy of your test can also be impacted by an incorrectly collected or stored sample. It’s important to follow the sample collection instructions carefully to ensure the most accurate results. To reduce the risk of error in collecting your sample, Nomad clinicians will observe your COVID-19 self-test sample collection via video call or take the sample for you at a Nomad clinic.
Another important factor of variation is that of the individual and their infection response. Currently there are no official studies indicating how long the protective COVID-19 antibodies remain in the body or the degree of protection that they provide. Equally as important is the lack of information relating to how specific cultural factors & body types affect a persons reaction to the infection and the production of antigens or antibodies.
How accurate is the COVID-19 PCR Test?
The antigen swab test for the active (live) COVID-19 infection is completed using a PCR swab test. This is a highly accurate test which is carefully calibrated for each individual laboratory is over 99% accurate.
How accurate is the COVID-19 Antibody Test?
Considering the antibody testing procedures demanded by MHRA, which is a minimum of 98% specificity and sensitivity for each of the antibodies being tested, Coronavirus antibody tests have a high degree of accuracy. The specificity is the number of false positives and the sensitivity is the number of false negatives. Blood samples taken for In-clinic Coronavirus Antibody Testing are measuring over 99% accuracy. The Coronavirus Antibody Self Kits use a different method of testing, which is more rapid but sometimes has levels that are lower than the MHRA standard. This information is conveyed in the advice given when you take the test so you can better understand your results.