The T-Spot®.COVID-19 Test – Previous Infection Status
All new T cell test available now: First test to identify T Lymphocyte immune response to Covid-19.
We are one of the first private clinics to offer T Lymphocyte (T cell) testing to determine previously undetected lymphocyte immune responses to Covid-19 infection or vaccination. The T-SPOT®.COVID Test looks for evidence of the immune response to covid-19. The aim is to answer the question: have I been exposed to Covid-19 and produced an immune response?
The T cell test is CE marked and registered for use in the UK.
COVID-19 Tests Explained
Why PCR Testing?
This is the ‘Do I have COVID-19?’ test. The aim of the PCR test is to understand who has virus present in their upper respiratory tract. It looks for the presence of viral RNA in nasal/throat swabs.
As with all viral PCR assays, patients with very low viral loads are less likely to be detected. Negative results do not mean there is no possibility of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Where there is a strong clinical suspicion of an early SARS-CoV-2 infection you should consider repeat sampling 24-48 hours later.
Why Serology Testing?
This is the ‘Have I had COVID-19?’ test. The aim of serology testing is to understand more about who may have come into contact with the virus. The serology test measures for the presence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. False negatives can occur in the Antibody test due to a low level of antibodies over time, clearance of the virus without an antibody response or because of recent infection without allowing time for the IgG antibody response to build to detectable levels.
Most patients have been found to produce antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 once they have recovered from coronavirus infection. However, whether the presence of IgG following infection can infer protection (either fully or partially) from future infection is yet to be determined.
Why T-Spot.COVID Testing?
This is the “Have I had COVID-19, but sometime ago, and/or I had a negative serology test’ The aim of the T-SPOT.COVID test is a simple blood test intended for use as an aid in identifying individuals with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2, specifically the T cell response. The test uses the T-SPOT Technology, a modified ELISPOT technology, with an optimised antigen mix, based on SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins, spike and nucleocapsid (S and N), and allows the maximum breadth of the immune response to be measured.
Proven to detect evidence of a T cell-mediated immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in PCR positive patients with a previous negative serology test result, or if you feel that you may have been exposed to Covid-19 some time ago.
Please complete the booking form on the contact page. Tests can be booked Monday – Thursday 9am-3pm
Higher positive agreement than a leading serology test1
In a study of 135 individuals, with a previous positive PCR result for SARS-CoV-2 infection, samples were analysed by both the T-SPOT.COVID test and a leading serology test. • T cell positive agreement remained high throughout the length of the study • Serology positive agreement decreased over time • Serology positive agreement was low before 14 days
Allow up to a week from your appointment.
The T cell test (the T-SPOT.COVID test) is CE marked and registered for use in the UK by the MHRA. The test is highly accurate and was positive in 96.6 % of a group of previously infected individuals <60 days after infection and 83.3 % at >60 days after infection.
In a group of individuals without any history of disease, 98% of samples tested were negative.
Producing T cells takes some time after initial contact with virus, but T cells may be detectable in the blood before antibodies are.
Positive agreement to previous PCR positive result: 96.6% <60 days, 83.3% >60 days.
Negative agreement to a low risk population: 98.0%
The T cell test was developed for use and has been validated on venous blood samples (blood taken from a vein by a medical professional). The test cannot be performed on samples of blood taken from a finger prick. This is why we only offer the test when a medical professional takes your sample from the vein, as recommended by the manufacturer.
8 or more spots – Reactive
5-7 spots – Borderline
4 or less spots – Non-reactive
Results should be used in conjunction with information available from clinical evaluation and other diagnostic procedures.
What does a ‘reactive’ T cell test result mean?
You have T cells that are reactive to the SARS-CoV-2 specific peptides used in the test. It is highly likely that you have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What does a non-reactive T cell test result mean?
You do not have T cells that are reactive to the SARS-CoV-2 specific peptides used in the test. It is therefore unlikely that you have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What does a borderline T cell test result mean?
Results near to the test cut off are usually more difficult to interpret. If you receive a borderline test result it is best to be re-tested to increase confidence in the test result.
T cell tests look for evidence of a immune response to Covid-19. In other words, if you have been exposed to Covid-19 and therefore produced an immune response. The T cell test is intended to detect a T cell-mediated immune response to SARS-CoV-2, which is different to serology (see above) which looks for an antibody response. T cells and antibodies are two parts of the adaptive immune response. Antibodies may not always be present in every person who gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 and especially may not be detectible after a long period of time. Evidence of a T cell response in the blood suggests previous exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You may have tested negative to an Antibody test in the past but still feel you may have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
If a person is exposed to Covid-19, their immune system will react in order to start fighting the virus. Part of this response is to produce specific T cells (Killer T cells) which can either clear a virus themselves, or with support of other T cells and of antibodies (Helper T cells). Most patients produce T cells in response to infection, virus or when they have a vaccination. This test T cell test can detect both Killer and Helper T cells.
We do not yet know if the presence of SARS-CoV-2 specific T cells gives protection and makes you immune, nor how long any immunity will last.