Dr Hilary shows how coronavirus antibody test you can do at home works on GMB – The Sun


GOOD Morning Britain's resident doctor has revealed how to carry out the new coronavirus antibody test – which can be done at home.

Dr Hilary Jones demonstrated his finger-prick test live on air this morning and revealed he had tested negative for Covid-19.

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It comes after it was revealed the Government had bought up 3.5 million home tests so that people can check whether they've had the illness.

The kits will be first given to healthcare workers before they are made available to the general public – via Amazon and Boots.

However, chief medical officer Chris Whitty last night admitted it was unlikely that they would be something we'd be "ordering on the internet next week".

Dr Hilary also agreed with Prof Whitty, telling GMB host Kate Garraway that the kits shouldn't be sold online or in the shops just yet – as they could do more harm than good.

How it works

Demonstrating how the test works, he explained that it's "almost like a pregnancy test, except you need a drop of blood".

Dr Hilary showed that a drop of blood goes into the well – a small hole at the bottom – followed by two drops of buffer solution.

He continued: "This migrates up the filter to chemicals which create something called an immunoassy.

"It's looking for particles that come from the virus."

Pointing to the letter C on the side of the test, Dr Hilary explained that it stands for the word control.

"There is a little red line next to the C mark – that's a control, which is a valid test and means the test has worked."

Kate then asked him what the other letters – M and G – stand for.

Dr Hilary said that the test is looking for antibodies, which are produced by the immune system to fight off the infection, and detecting them would mean you've had coronavirus.

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But he added that there are two types of antibody that the body makes when we're exposed to the virus – IGG and IGM.

"IGG antibodies take longer to develop after an acute infection," he said.

"They probably come in within 14 days and peak at five weeks and can last six months.

"IGM antibody are created within seven days of an acute illness and peak around two to three weeks.


"So, what this test shows – and mine was negative – it shows that you have either had the infection already and you have antibodies and are immune, or you haven’t been exposed to the virus."

Dr Hilary added that it would be "extremely useful" to healthcare professionals as it would tell them if they are safe to work with patients or should be self-isolating if they show symptoms.

What are antibody tests?

Antibody tests are a finger-prick blood test, with the samples sent to laboratories and results available within a few days.

The body produces antibodies when it fights infection and the test measures the presence of these antibodies in the blood.

Anyone who has already had Covid-19 is presumed to be immune to getting it again. There have been reports of people being reinfected, but these are rare.

It was revealed yesterday that millions of tests could be made available on the high street or via Amazon.

Professor Sharon Peacock, from PHE, told MPs on the Science and Technology Committee that mass testing in the UK would be possible within days and evaluation of the finger-prick blood test should be completed this week.

The UK has bought 3.5 million tests so far and is ordering millions more.

However, England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, later sought to play down the suggestion that tests would be available within days, saying the public would not be buying the tests on the internet next week.

The tests are being developed by several different firms and Public Health England (PHE) is also working on its own test.

They still need to be validated to ensure they give accurate results.

Prof Whitty added: "The one thing that is worse than no test is a bad test."

Boots urged people not to go into its stores looking for the tests.

Dr Hilary also warned: "If we have this test they have to be really accurate and specific. There's no point having unreliable tests.

"People could go back to work without immunity and causing more harm than good."

Dr Hilary said that the test kits need to be themselves tested thoroughly before being brought out in a controlled fashion.

He added: "We shouldn’t be selling this to the public. Who is controlling the results and says who can go back to work or not?

"It should be done officially by health care professionals.

"I hope these won’t be made available on Amazon and Boots to buy. They need to be used by health care professionals first."

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