COVID PCR testing has dramatically decreased since we all started to learn to live with the virus. However, new variants continue to spreading quickly in some areas of the UK, with many places beginning to re-introduce mask wearing. Anyone with respiratory symptoms going into a hospital or other health care setting at the moment is strongly advised to rule out COVID as the cause of the symptoms before visiting, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
COVID, like seasonal Flu and RSV (another common respiratory infection), is a virus that is easily transmissible through;
- Direct contact and droplets
- Indirect spread and aerosols
Symptoms of all three viruses include;
- Runny nose/congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle/body aches
They can also be completely symptom-free in some people, whilst others suffer severely and can require hospitalisation, putting further burden on an already strained NHS this winter.
The Forensic Genomics Innovation Hub has been offering, and is Accredited (ISO17025) to perform, COVID PCR testing since the start of the pandemic back in 2020. We are still on hand to assist anyone wanting a PCR test who is able to travel to our laboratory in Southampton.
Our test covers all the known COVID variants, including the newest variant and results are available the same day when attending an appointment at the Forensic Genomics Innovation Hub Laboratory before 11am in the morning. The sampling kit includes;
- A simple Instructions for Use
- A throat swab in protective tube
To make a booking, please contact us
What is the difference between a General COVID PCR test and a Fit To Fly ?
Essentially nothing. The test is exactly the same, they just have slightly different reporting requirements.
- General testing will provide you with a report with the results of the test.
- Our Fit to Fly tests come with a Travel Certificate if you test negative which means you are able to leave the country and must show the certificate at departure.
- Whilst nearly all countries have now removed the requirement for a COVID Fit to Fly PCR, please check which rules applies for the country you will travel to BEFORE you book a test. You can find this information here:
How does the test work?
Our test is highly accurate and uses a technique called RT-PCR, which works by detecting the viral RNA. The test will determine if someone is positive for Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). It can detect the presence of the virus even before symptoms begin to show. Some people never get symptoms. They may still be infectious to a vulnerable friend or family member.
What if I am sick with something else – can it affect the result of the test?
No, this is not the case. The common cold and flu can give similar symptoms to coronavirus infection. However, the PCR test is extremely specific. The test detects the genetic material (the RNA) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exclusively. The test is not affected by any other virus in the sample.
Is it possible to take the Coronavirus test at home?
Yes. We will ship you a home (or location of your choice) self-testing kit where you will simply swab the back of the throat around your tonsil area (even if you don’t have them anymore) and then briefly up the nasal cavity. We provide the collection instructions in the kit, and once you’ve collected the sample, simply return it in the prepaid packaging to the lab for analysis. You can expect to be notified of the results in 2 days from receipt in the lab. It will be the same day if received before midday.
How long will it take to get the results?
We treat coronavirus testing as priority, so results are issued within 2 days of receiving the sample in the laboratory. Over 99% are resulted the same day.
How do I get my test results and how will I be notified?
FGIH will send you an email when the results are ready. Be sure to provide the most relevant email address for you to receive your results.
Are your tests accurate and validated?
Yes, the PCR tests used to detect Covid-19 are fully validated in the laboratory. The Forensic Genomics Innovation Hub is ISO17025 Accredited to run this test.
If you want to read more about accuracy of testing you can read our blog about it.
Does your Coronavirus test tell me whether I’ve previously been infected or if I am immune to the virus?
This PCR test will tell you if you are currently infected with Covid-19. It will not tell if you have been infected in the past or whether you are currently immune. This is because the virus is eliminated from the body once you recover, so these tests cannot detect if you’ve previously been infected. If you need more information read our blog about Covid-19 testing.
Is the test 100% accurate?
The PCR technique is extremely sensitive, however, it is not possible to guarantee that any test kit is 100% accurate. While unlikely, there is a small possibility that the test produces a false positive or negative even when used correctly.
How do I interpret my results?
There are FOUR possible testing outcomes;
Positive – A positive result indicates that you are infected with Covid-19, based
on the test detecting RNA from SARS-CoV-2 in your sample. Please consider yourself to be contagious. You no longer have to self-isolate but it is recommended to stay at home where possible to minimise the risk of infecting others. Only contact your Dr if you are unable to manage your symptoms, should they develop.
Negative – A negative test result indicates that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detected by the PCR test in your specimen, above the threshold of detection. Note that a negative result does not rule out current or future infection by Covid-19. It is imperative to consider any recent exposure, symptoms or additional diagnostic test results (e.g., for other respiratory illnesses). Furthermore, a negative Covid-19 test should not be used as the sole basis for treatment management decisions and the full clinical history should be considered.
Inconclusive – If you receive an inconclusive result, it means the test results did not meet the diagnostic requirements to be reported as positive or negative for Covid-19. A repeat test is recommended.
Failed – A failed test report is released after repeating the RNA extraction and PCR twice with no internal control present in the PCR. This is usually due to sampling issues. It may be eating or drinking less than 30 minutes before taking the sample, or you did not swab yourself properly. Please ensure all sampling instructions are followed carefully as eating or drinking just before taking the test may have affected the sample. Incorrect sampling is the most common cause of a failed result.
What are the Government guidelines?
Government guidelines have changed a lot since the peak of the pandemic with no restrictions in place anymore. If you are concerned please go to the government website for more information. www.gov.uk/coronavirus