Antibody testing for Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Antibody testing is now gradually being introduced across the country.

However, its availability is currently limited, and guidance for its use in the community has not yet been released.

As it does not change any of the clinical management or social distancing rules NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, together with the LMC, are advising GPs to not request antibody testing for their patients at the present time.

If and when antibody testing has a role to play, it will be made widely available within North Yorkshire and York.

Antibody testing tells you whether you have had the virus in the past and developed an immune response. It requires a blood test. We do not know how long the antibody lasts so do not know how long it might help your body resist the virus or whether you can still transmit the virus to others.

A positive antibody test result will mean that you still need to observe social distancing measures and government guidelines. 

There is ongoing research into antibodies, and studies are looking into whether an immune response does convey protection.   

For latest government information on antibody testing click here.

Virus testing

Virus testing (a polymerase chain reaction or ‘PCR’ test) is however now widely available and tells you whether you currently have the infection. It requires a swab in the back of the nose or throat. Up to 10% of people who test positive for the virus do not develop an immune response.   

Virus testing is available by following the links below:

  • These tests are only available for those who meet the eligibility criteria found here.
  • Eligible key workers will be prioritised and should register for a test here.
  • Anyone not meeting the key worker criteria but who is displaying symptoms can register for a test here.