COVID-19 Travel Swabs and Antibody Tests

Travel Clinic at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) offers two fee-paying COVID-19 tests for people who:

  • Fall into high risk groups for COVID-19 and are considering travel, or
  • Those needing to prove that they are ‘COVID-safe’ for travel and VISA purposes.

A COVID-19 antibody test helps determine if you have had infection in the past. HTD only offers the laboratory processed (Roche IgG/IgM Ab) blood test as there is greater accuracy than with the point-of-care/DIY finger prick tests.

HTD also offers nose and throat swab (antigen test) for those travelling and are required to prove that you do not have current infection with COVID-19 for VISA purposes.

Test results are generally available within 48 hours via your MyCare portal.

Important

There isn’t currently enough data to confirm that being antibody positive protects you from re-infection with COVID-19. It is important to continue to follow social distancing measures and medical advice.

A negative antibody test does not necessarily mean that you haven’t had COVID-19 in the past, but having a positive test does confirm past infection.

If you test positive for the antigen swab test (and are currently infectious) then you will be advised to self-isolate.

What will the antibody test tell me?

Your body makes antibodies when you have an immune response to an infection. Your blood sample taken in clinic will be examined in a lab for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies tend to be detectable in your blood around three weeks after your first symptoms of COVID-19. If the lab detects these antibodies in your blood then it is highly likely you’ve previously had COVID-19.

What will the antigen test tell me?

This test tells you if you are currently infected with COVID-19. A negative test is required for travellers to some countries in order to obtain a visa.

Recommended if you were advised toshield during lockdown

HTD offers tailored Travel Health Consultations using up to date knowledge of risks at your intended travel destination/s assessed against vulnerabilities arising from your condition. A Travel Health Specialist can develop individualised mitigation strategies such as vaccines, anti-malaria medication or hazard mitigation for specific geographies on your trip.

Consultations can be booked by emailing: uclh.htdtravelclinic@nhs.net or calling 0203 447 5959.


© The Hospital for Tropical Diseases 2013 - 2018