Babylon offers £69 COVID-19 antibody test

Babylon Health has launched a new offering to test anyone in the UK for COVID-19 antibodies.

The test doesn’t tell you if you’re currently infected with coronavirus, but allows you to have a lab-based test to understand whether you have or not previously been infected.

The company is offering the test at ‘cost price’, £69, and says the results will be available within 24-48 hours.

The finger-prick blood test can be taken at home and is sent to a third party lab for testing for the COVID-19 antibodies. The laboratory that Babylon is using is said to currently be reporting a sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 99.5% for the test.

The company said antibody testing like this can help provide a greater understanding of how many people have had the disease.

Dr Olivia Morrow, who is helping lead the antibody testing effort at Babylon, said “These tests can help give answers to people who are unsettled, wondering if that cough, fever, or loss of smell they had in February was COVID-19.”

“With Babylon’s help, we can gain insight into how often people with only mild symptoms, or even no symptoms at all, have developed antibodies and perhaps start to answer important questions about immunity and the spread of the virus.”

“Despite thousands of scientific papers on COVID-19, most are focused on hospitalised patients with severe disease. Babylon can support national research as fewer studies have been done looking at those with more mild symptoms in the wider community. This could help answer questions about which regions are at greater risk for breakouts, how to guide social distancing measures and better understand the natural history of the disease. By choosing to share their information, people could help add a piece to the puzzle of our understanding of this devastating pandemic.”

Patients can choose to share information about their symptoms, demographics, and testing history with researchers. Babylon aims to publish this aggregated information and share anonymised data with the research community and Public Health England.