Testing yourself for Covid-19

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The testing kit

I was invited to take part in a Covid-19 study run by Imperial College, London and Ipsos MORI, an independent research organisation. The research is funded by Department of Health and Social Care.

It involved a self-administered antibody kit to test yourself at home. The test looks a bit like a pregnancy test.

To take the test, you have to prick the tip of your finger with a lancet, squeeze your finger  to form a large droplet of blood, allowing the drop to fall on to the testing stick into a square shaped well. You then add two drops of buffer liquid onto a circular well at the bottom of the testing stick and after two minutes a blue line turns red.

After waiting a minimum of 10 minutes and no longer than 15 minutes for the test result, if the line is blue, then the result is invalid, a red line means it is negative, two or three lines no matter how light or dark red they are and the result is positive (you have Covid-19 antibodies). The test looks for two types of antibodies, igM, which is short-lasting, and igG, which is longer lasting.

I tested negative and found the test easy to use and not very stressful, certainly better than sticking a swab down your throat and up your nose.

I also completed a survey online on using the test kit and on my lifestyle before, during the lockdown and since some of the restrictions have been lifted.

The study will help the government understand how many people in England may have already been infected with Covid-19 and help to develop its approach to antibody testing.

Image Credits: Dennis Leeds George .

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