Mater Private uses a simple blood test to determine whether antibodies to COVID-19 Coronavirus are present in the blood. If this screening test is positive, a confirmatory test is carried out on the blood sample to confirm the initial results. Further clinical advice can be provided by our expert team of Clinical Microbiologists to determine whether a positive antibody result may be due to a current or a previous infection.
Please note, antibody tests are not recommended for diagnosing active infection with the COVID-19 virus. For this reason, all public health advice should continue to be adhered to regardless of the test result. Symptomatic patients should consult their GP for clinical advice and to arrange testing as needed.
Testing Process for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Antibodies
- Book an appointment for a blood test – call 01 885 8739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
No walk-in service currently available due to social distancing requirements.
- Appointments can be made by phone between 10.30 and 12.30 Monday – Friday or by email.
- Appointments available Monday to Saturday.
- Blood tests are carried out at the Phlebotomy Dept. in Mater Private Hospital, Eccles St., Dublin 7.
- Results are available within 3 working days of testing. Results are communicated in writing. Results are sent by post, or to an email address you confirm is secure for the receipt of your medical information.
- Cost: €90.00 payable on day of testing.
- This service is available for patients >18 years old.
Validated Testing Process
As part of an extensive validation process, the Mater Private Laboratory Service undertook a comprehensive study approved by the National Research Ethics committee involving more than 320 healthcare workers and their close family members, to assess the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of several commercially available test methods. Following this study, the Mater Private Laboratory Service was able to select the most suitable and appropriate test methods and testing strategy for determining evidence of prior infection to the COVID-19 virus.
All tests are performed by our expert team of Medical Scientists in our accredited on-site laboratory following all the current guidelines. Clinical oversight is provided by Mater Private Consultant Microbiologists. The testing strategy implemented includes an initial screening process using the Roche Cobas system which detects both IgM and IgG antibodies (Total Antibodies) to COVID-19.
If this test is positive, a confirmatory ELISA test is performed to confirm the initial positive result. The combined results of the two testing methods can be used to determine whether a positive antibody result is due to current or previous infection and further clinical advice can be provided accordingly.
Using this two-step screening strategy ensures increased sensitivity in the early stages of infection and increased specificity by combined application of test methods.
Antibody tests can indicate if there is evidence of likely prior infection with the COVID-19 virus. However, at this time it is not known if the presence of antibodies indicates immunity to COVID-19. Therefore, a positive result is not a guarantee of protection against future infection with the COVID-19 virus. It is also not a guarantee of prevention of disease transmission to others.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the COVID-19 antibody test work?
A blood sample is taken for analysis. This includes an initial screening process using the Roche Cobas system which detects Total Antibodies to COVID-19. If this test is positive, a second ELISA test is performed to confirm the initial positive result. The combined results of the two testing methods can be used to determine whether a positive antibody result is due to current or previous infection. Further clinical advice can be given accordingly.
- How will I receive my results?
Results are available within 2-3 working days of testing and communicated in writing (by post/ by email to a secure address provided by you). Unfortunately, results cannot be given by telephone due to Data Protection regulations.
- What do my results mean?
A positive result indicates that you have had an immune response to the COVID-19 virus and were likely to have had previous exposure to the virus. A negative result means there is no evidence you were previously infected with COVID-19. However, this does not completely rule out past infection, it simply means there are no antibodies currently (or remaining in your system).
- How accurate are the antibody tests?
No tests are 100% accurate however as a result of the comprehensive validation process undertaken by the laboratory, we can be confident that the most sensitive and specific methods currently available are being used to test for antibodies to COVID-19.
- How do COVID-19 antibody tests differ from diagnostic tests?
COVID-19 antibody tests are used to determine if you have previously been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and have mounted an immune response. Antibody tests are not used to diagnose current or active infection and if you are symptomatic you should consult your GP for clinical advice and to arrange testing if necessary.
- How much does a Coronavirus / COVID-19 Antibody Test cost?
The cost is €90, payable on the day of testing.
- How old do you have to be to get a Coronavirus/ COVID-19 Antibody test?
You must be over 18 years old to have this test carried out by the Mater Private Laboratory Service.
- Who is the COVID-19 /Coronavirus Antibody test not suitable for?
COVID-19 antibody tests are not recommended for diagnosing active infection with the COVID-19 virus; therefore, this test is not suitable if you have symptoms and suspect you may be currently infected with the COVID-19 virus. Symptomatic patients should consult their GP for clinical advice and to arrange testing as needed.
- Does proof of recent COVID-19 (Coronavirus) infection guarantee immunity?
Due to limited data on COVID-19, there is currently no conclusive data on the levels of antibodies developed as result of a COVID-19 infection and the duration of immunity associated with these antibodies, if any. Further research is needed to determine the amount of antibodies necessary for protection against future COVID-19 infections.
- What is the next step if my antibody test is positive?
A positive result suggests that you have previously been exposed to the COVID-19 virus but is not an indication of active infection. If you are symptomatic you should consult your GP for clinical advice and to arrange testing if necessary.
- Can I still get the COVID-19 antibody test even if I haven’t tested positive for COVID-19?
Yes, If you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 previously or have had symptoms in the past but did not get a COVID-19 test, you can still get the COVID-19 antibody test. The result of this test can establish whether you have previously been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and may indicate whether a previous period of feeling unwell was due to COVID-19 or some other virus/ illness instead.