May 30, 2020

Fergus Walsh: ‘I was gobsmacked to test positive for coronavirus antibodies’

Antibody tests which show that you have had a Covid-19 infection will be rolled out to NHS and care staff from next week. So what happens when you test positive? Carry on as before – and I should know.

Part of the job of a medical correspondent is getting involved. That means volunteering for medical trials, tests and so on. I forget the number of times I’ve rolled up my sleeve to give blood to illustrate some story, or gone into an MRI scanner to image my brain. It’s what we call “show and tell” in the TV trade. So when home antibody tests were first in the news I set out to show how they worked.

The tests all vary a bit in how you perform them. All you need is a drop or two of blood, which you squeeze into a hole, add a bit of chemical and then within a few minutes you get your result.

A positive result comes, as with a pregnancy test, if you get two lines across the sample window. I did the finger-prick test on camera and was surprised, and pleased, to find that I was positive for antibodies. I’ve since done further reports on antibody testing and had the same positive result each time. You can see the photo – excuse the blood – of three positive results, although one of them does have a faint line.

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