Superdrug is the first high-street retailer to announce a coronavirus testing service as parts of pre-lockdown life begin to return in the UK.
The antibody test uses a patient’s venous blood sample drawn by nurses at Superdrug stores.
It won’t be available at every one of the retailer’s outlets, though. Initially, it will be available at 30 health clinics with a further 12 launching in the coming weeks.
The testing is aligned with and accredited by with the government’s guidelines.
The antibody test will let people know whether they’ve had COVID-19 at any point in the past and if the body has produced an immune response.
Scientists haven’t been able to conclude whether or not past coronavirus patients will get immunity from the virus, yet, although it’s not thought that anybody has suffered from it twice.
The blood test is open to anybody who is over the age of 18, but if symptoms have only recently developed, you must wait 14 days before testing.
People who want to take up Superdrug’s testing service will have to book an appointment and complete a questionnaire before visiting the store for their test.
Patients are also being asked to take ID with them to prove who they are.
People opting to try the test will then have to wait between three-five days to get the results of their blood test back.
The test is 97.5% accurate and it seems there are two primary reasons why some people who have had the virus don’t receive a positive result.
The first is down to the immunity response that the person tested has. If they don’t have many antibodies in their bodies or if the antibodies they do have aren’t strong enough, the test will show up as negative.
Speaking about the new launch, Michael Henry, Superdrug’s Healthcare Director, said: “Our nurses have the professional expertise to draw a venous blood sample which is the only type of blood sample used for Covid-19 antibody testing currently in line with government guidelines.
“While the antibody testing option of being able to draw your own blood via a finger prick test is still under review, people still want easy access to a service where they can find out if they have already been infected with COVID-19.
“Launching this nurse-led antibody testing service in our Health Clinics gives them the choice to find out. Receiving a positive antibody test result does not however confer immunity, and it’s important that people understand that it does not mean you can be any more relaxed with the required hygiene and social distancing measures as set out by the government.”