LABORATORY

Covid-19 Tests may be performed in the clinic during normal opening hours or, in exceptional circumstances, by arrangement.  Analysis is carried out by the Doctors Laboratory which is the UK's largest independant pathology facility.  It is fully government accredited as a UKAS (ISO15189) Testing Centre.  It uses the latest protocols which are subject to constant review and quality control.  For PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing, a swab is taken from the throat and nose.  Results are guaranteed within 48 hours but are usually obtained much sooner.  Please note, this timescale is not something which can be sped up in the case of impending travel plans abroad, for example. 

 

The results obtained from a PCR test will show a minimum sensitivity of over 99% (for sufferers testing positive) and a specificity of 100% (for non-sufferers testing negative).  Lateral Flow Device (LFD) "Rapid Testing" is not provided here.  While these tests are becoming increasingly widespread, and are indeed specific enough to report negative for almost all non-sufferers, they are not yet sensitive enough to confirm whether people are actually free from the virus. 

 

Despite what the media or others might claim, properly peer-reviewed definitive research carried out at Porton Down and Oxford University confirms that as many as 42% of people who have the disease will not, in fact, test positive using a LFD.  Oddly, this may well be excellent from a public health perspective, as it is a simple and cheap way to highlight more than half of the carriers in circulation.  It is cavalier and deceitful, however, for unscrupulous providers to suggest that everybody sould have (or buy from them) a handful of these tests for use at home.  Using LFD tests to confirm whether people are safe to see Granny in her care home or to hook-up with friends that they shouldn't be seeing is unreliable and dangerous. 

 

The chances of people dying from corona virus are now exceptionally small but the absence of a positive LFD result means just that - the absence of a positive result.  Only 58% of the time does it definitely mean the absence of infection too!

 

If required, IgG Antibody (blood) tests can also be carried out in the clinic.  These require a normal blood sample to be taken from the arm or can also be done at home using a finger-prick sample.  This test will show whether you have been infected with Covid-19 in the past and have subsequently developed and maintained antibodies against it.  Please note that not everyone actually does so in practice.  The this test is only appropriate if possible infection took place more than a fortnight earlier.

 

General Blood and Clinical Tests including standard blood, hormone, urine, stool, swab or other tests are also routinely carried out within the clinic.  As the list of tests available is comprehensive, please enquire directly if this is something which would be of interest.

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