THIS SERVICE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE AT LA BELLE FORME
We have checked the accuracy of our tests and have given information about our audits and results towards the end of this webpage
Coronavirus – SARS-CoV2 – COVID-19
For anyone concerned by the current situation, we can now test for SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19) at Glasgow Medical Rooms, 21 St Vincent Street, Glasgow We are offering this service on a, not for profit basis. We will charge for the cost of the test and for our overheads only. Please read this page fully before you arrange to book an appointment for a consultation and a test. How to book information is at the end of this page and in the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this service please contact our partners at the Glasgow Medical Rooms on 0141 225 0140
This finger-prick blood test will be fully explained to you in advance by a doctor or nurse, and then carried out by a trained individual. It will give you an answer within 20 minutes as to whether you have had in the past or recently had infection with SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.
You will be seen after the test by a doctor who will explain the meaning of the test to you.
We have agreed to liaise with Public Health Scotland and make sure they are informed of positive tests so we can contribute to epidemiological data. This data is sent to PHS through Glasgow Medical Rooms.
This service is available to all in the community, with priority booking for those holding “Key Worker” status.
In addition, for all symptomatic patients, consultations by telephone or Skype can be booked for an assessment, and arrangements made to post a swab to you which will identify if you currently have the infection or not.
Right now, La Belle Forme has teamed up with Glasgow Medical Rooms where the service is being provided
Please note – we are limited in the provision of this service by the availability of the testing kits, and these may not be available at all points in this pandemic.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that causes several diseases that mainly affect the respiratory tract. COVID-19 (COronaVIrusDisease-2019) is the disease caused by one of the coronaviruses. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 is therefore a disease.
The main form of spread of the virus is through respiratory secretions. These may be transmitted directly (e.g. sneezing or coughing); during person to person contact if virus particles from respiratory secretions are on hands or other body parts; or through contaminated surfaces. Before symptoms are present, the chance of spread is low. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, a barking/dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, fatigue and loss of smell. If the disease progresses, it can cause severe respiratory distress, respiratory failure, and sepsis. Most people who suffer the disease do not have a severe form of the disease, but those that are vulnerable are more likely to need medical intervention and this puts a strain on healthcare services. Those people who are carers for vulnerable people also need to ensure they avoid contact with the vulnerable during their contagious period.
Testing for coronavirus
Testing kits for SARS-CoV-2 are now available and we want to give you information on what tests are available and what we can do to help you. We will be working with a number of partners, clinics and health care professionals to try and provide you with the best care and information on coronavirus. We are offering tests to the general public. There are two types of tests available – RT-PCR (PCR tests) and IgM/IgG antibody (Ab) tests. PCR tests for viral RNA; the antibody investigation tests for exposure to the virus. The accuracy of the PCR test is thought to be 71% sensitive. The antibody test is only effective after approximately two days following infection. Different testing options and patient pathways are available for different categories of patients.
Which test should I have?
This depends on whether you have symptoms (or have had symptoms within the last few days) or if you do not have any symptoms just now.
SYMPTOMS: If you have symptoms of the disease you will be offered a PCR test. This is a throat swab test. We want you, your carers and us to be safe, so this test will not be performed in the clinic. We would prefer to post this out to you and show you how to take the swab. Some people have had the test taken in their cars when their carer has come to the clinic to get the swab and this is also an option. You will need to post it back to us or directly to the lab that we use and we will get the results. Once we get the results, we will perform a distant consultation with you – either on the phone or through a video consultation to talk about the results.
NO SYMPTOMS: If you do not have symptoms of the disease you will be offered an Antibody test. This test will tell you if you have had the virus in the past. If you were feeling unwell a few weeks ago or a couple of months ago, then this will tell you if you had coronavirus infection in the past.
How accurate are the tests?
Throat swab/PCR test: the PCR test is about 70% sensitive. If the test is positive, you have the virus at the moment. If the test is negative you may still the virus but the test did not pick it up. In this case, you may want to think about having another test in about a week or so – the Antibody test (the blood test). The antibody test (the blood test) tells you whether you had the disease in the past.
Blood test/Antibody test: The antibody test becomes more accurate a few days after an infection. 4-10 days after being infected the test is 70-80% sensitive (which is probably day 2-8 of symptoms) and nearly 100% sensitive after this. If you have a positive test you have had the virus in the past. If you have a negative test, you may want to consider repeating the test some time later, especially if you develop symptoms.
The blood test takes about 15 minutes to do and the throat swab takes a couple of days for us to get the results. Before you come for the tests we will ask you to complete a medical questionnaire. While you’re waiting for the results we will ask you to leave the clinic and come back 15-20 minutes later.
Am I at risk?
We need to consider three groups of people:
Group A: the vulnerable. This includes people who are elderly, frail, with co-morbidities such as COPD asthma and cardiovascular illnesses, those on chemotherapy, steroids, methotrexate or other drugs, and so on. This group of people are more likely than others to require hospital admission. Babies and infants do not seem to fall into this category even though “extremes of age” is often a risk category for severity of disease. In this case it does not seem to be the case. Group A people should not attend LBF/GMR unless they have completely recovered from having a respiratory disease of unknown cause and wish to get tested to determine which disease they suffered. Group A people should self isolate, until the end of June 2020.
Group B are carers for the vulnerable. Group B people should be aware of the people they care for who are in Group A who are vulnerable. If a person in Group B displays symptoms or is likely to have the disease, then they may spread it to a person in Group A who may need medical attention. Group B people may also show no symptoms and be infective even though they do not know they are infective. Group B people may wish to get tested to see if they are safe to break quarantine and isolation restrictions with group A people.
Group C is the rest of the population. Group C people are more likely to get a mild form of the disease. If they show symptoms they will need to self isolate to avoid spreading the disease to people in Group B or Group A. Group A should be self isolating for 3 months in any case.
A certain proportion of people who get the disease will be completely well and have no idea that they have had the disease. This group of people are asymptomatic, in other words, they show no symptoms at all. These people will have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but have not suffered from COVID-19. It is more likely that this group of people fall into the Group C category.
How much will the test cost
The blood test (which tests for antibodies) costs £65. We are keeping the costs of the test so that we do not make any profits from them. Our prime concern is to help and look after you. However, there are some costs we all have to bear including the costs of the equipment, the lab tests, our clinic running costs. The throat swab (PCR) is more expensive than the blood test because the lab testing equipment is much more expensive and this is reflected in the costs.
How to book an appointment
How accurate are the tests:
There are two tests available, a blood test and a throat swab. The throat swab is about 70% accurate and the blood test is about 100% accurate but only after several days. We’re able to do both tests but most of the people who have come to us have had the blood test because they wonder if had coronavirus a few weeks ago when they had cold/flu but it wasn’t the typical kind.
We take the accuracy of these tests very seriously. We are constantly asking our suppliers about the accuracy of the tests they are sending us. If we have any doubts about the accuracy of the tests, we will not use them and we will return them. If that means we do not have any test kits available to offer testing then that means we won’t be testing anyone.
Should we be self isolating at a time like this?
You should follow government advice and only leave home if you fulfil the criteria for leaving home. The people who are feeling unwell at the moment and are not leaving home are the ones who are sent a throat swab and we do a remote consultation.
Why do I have to pay for the test?
As soon as the NHS starts widespread general testing you may be able to get the test done. The NHS has tests available, but they are testing specific groups of people, based on the opinion of their specialist doctors. The NHS is therefore not offering the test to everyone right now. Until then you can have a test performed privately. The cost of the test is based on the cost of the kit that we buy. When the price of that changes, then the price of the test changes too.
How come we have the tests and the NHS doesn’t?
The NHS and other organisations around the world have these tests. They are planning to roll out these tests. We know they have these tests because of newspaper reports such as this one: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-testing-plans-in-chaos-dspc5nhw8.
Are we taking tests away from the NHS which needs the tests more than us?
Our suppliers gave a large amount of testing kits to the NHS and our kits were delayed because previous orders were sent to the NHS, but we haven’t seen the NHS use them yet. The NHS has plenty of tests and we’re not taking any away from them.
Is our test the exact same test as the NHS?
We’re not completely sure, but our suppliers tell us they sold the exact same tests to the NHS. If you look at what tests they’re doing in all countries, it varies. The NHS testing seems to have been delayed but they’re getting ready to roll out blood tests like ours. In Germany they’re planning to test people with blood tests like the ones we’re using. In South Korea we’ve seen reports that they seem to be testing people with throat swabs. We’re testing people after a asking them questions at a consultation, which then determines which test is more appropriate for the patient. The NHS has access to throat swabs and blood tests, and they aren’t in shortage. If they do get in short supply, the manufacturers of the tests and the suppliers will sell them to the NHS before they sell them to us.
Are you profiteering from this?
We’re doing these tests on a non profit basis so we aren’t profiteering from this. This is a global humanitarian crisis and no one could ever have thought that we would find ourselves in this situation. We are all in this together and we all want to help each other. No one wants to be in this situation and we would rather be doing other things. We believe no one should be profiteering from this and we certainly aren’t.
What checks have you done to look at the accuracy of your tests?
We get our testing kits from two manufacturers from their suppliers and they are based in Germany. We audited the test kits and we looked at the performance characteristics from the manufacturer. They tested their kits and compared their results with PCR testing and CT chest results. The diagnostic sensitivity 11 days after infection is 97.1% and the specificity of the test is 100%.
We audited our first 100 tests. We have tested 9 patients positive for coronavirus antibodies. We considered whether this prevalence in our selected cohort of patients was an accurate correlation of the prevalence in the general community. Although this figure is unknown, it does not seem unreasonable to consider this to be too different from what the general thoughts are, for this figure.
We noted that we performed a single control test on a patient who had previously had COVID-19 who wanted to be tested for antibodies. We noted that the patient had tested positive using one of the tests we use
Putting these three together (the performance data from the manufacturer, the incidence of positivity and the control test) we considered that the test kits we use are accurate enough for us to consider continuing to use the tests.
We are keeping an eye on questions that we see online and questions that people ask us. Please keep checking for more questions and answers over the next few days