Coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody test kit: taking a blood sample

Guidance and video to help you do your antibody test correctly, post your sample and get your results.

Antibody testing is only available for specific people. See information on eligibility.

When your test kit arrives

Test kits take up to 5 days to arrive in the post (you do not have to sign for it).

Store it in a cool dry place (not in direct sunlight or the fridge).

Take the test as soon as possible.

Video: how to do your test and get your result

The kit has everything you need to take your test and post your sample to get your result.

It takes about 30 minutes to do the test (do it without interruption or you will spoil your sample).

Watch the antibody test follow-along video

Avoid common mistakes

Before you start your test, watch the video and always read the instructions to make sure you:

  • follow the tips to get blood flowing before you start – it makes it easier
  • collect the right amount of blood
  • only use the kit with your name on – or you will not be sent a result
  • follow the instructions to return your sample correctly

If you cannot get enough blood

You can prick a different finger to try and get the right amount of blood needed for the test. You must follow the instructions and only use lancets from your kit.

You must not complete the test if you have run out of lancets. Instead, follow the instructions to dispose of your test safely. You can sign up again to get a new test, unless you were sent a test because you tested positive for COVID-19 in which case you will not be able to sign up again.

The test may not work if your sample does not contain enough blood.

Safe lancet disposal

Lancets (the tool you prick your finger with) can cause injury and carry blood-borne viruses.

Return used and unused lancets with your blood sample.

Do not put lancets in your recycling.

Get your results

It can take 3 to 7 days to get your result after you post your sample.

You should post your sample back on the same day you took it. If you are unable to do this, make sure you store the sample at room temperature and post it the next day.

Use your nearest priority post box so your sample gets to the lab quickly.

Find out what an antibody test result can and cannot tell you.

Call centre

The call centre cannot give you medical advice or help you take your test.

Please report damaged or incomplete kits to help us improve the service.

Check your order confirmation for the call centre contact details.

Published 14 September 2020
Last updated 13 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added Welsh to translated instructions and removed guidance around not posting tests on Saturdays.

  2. Updated instructions on safe lancet disposal, removed instruction not to take or post a test on a Sunday, and replaced video link with a newer version.

  3. Updated 'call centre' section: damaged or incomplete kits should be reported to the call centre. Check your order confirmation for the call centre contact details.

  4. Updated the advice for safe lancet disposal.

  5. First published.