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 PCR test) for those travelling and required to prove that you do not have current infection with COVID-19 for VISA purposes. To find out about current testing availability or to book please email: uclh.htdtravelclinic@nhs.net or call 0203 447 5959. Early booking is recommended. The cost of the travel swab is £115.00.

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 to shield 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.


© The Hospital for Tropical Diseases 2013 - 2018