Which COVID-19 test can I get from the government?

The UK government are now offering a few types of COVID-19 test. These services are provided for free in order to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and protect the general public as well as the economy.

Read the information below to find out more about the types of COVID-19 test and who they are available for.

PCR Test

This is the first type of COVID-19 test that the UK government offered for free.

What is it? The PCR Test involves a patient taking a swab of their nose or throat, to pick up any genetic material related to SARS-CoV-2. Following sample collection, the swab is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

What does it show? This type of COVID-19 test shows if a person is currently infected with COVID-19.

Who is it available for? According to the GOV.UK website, anyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can apply for a test if they are experiencing symptoms. Anyone over 5 in Scotland who is suffering from symptoms can order a test.

Key workers and those who live with key workers can have access to priority testing. This group includes workers such as NHS staff, teachers and staff in care homes.

Where does it happen? You can order a home test kit, or visit a mobile testing site.

Find out more here.

Testing COVID-19

Antibody Test

What is it? For the COVID-19 antibody test, a blood sample must be collected from the patient. This will then be examined to determine if antibodies related to COVID-19 are present.

What does it show? The antibody test shows if a person has recently been infected with COVID-19. The test does not prove a person is immune to the coronavirus.

Who is it available for? According to the GOV.UK website, the antibody tests will initially be offered to NHS staff and those working in the care sector.

Where does it happen? The tests will be for professional use only, which means that a qualified Medical Professional must collect a blood sample. This is likely to occur at a person’s workplace.

Find out more here.


According to an article published by Verdict Medical Devices, the UK government are also looking to provide free antibody tests. Patients would be required to collect a blood sample via the finger-prick method. This announcement follows a successful trial of the antibody tests, where the test was deemed to be ’98.6% accurate.’ The article also mentions that introduction of an app or digital system that is designed specifically for this test, to help ‘facilitate use and reading of the test device.’

There is further mention of this on the GOV.UK website, where it states that the test is still in development and is yet to be validated for use on a mass scale.


At Antibody Solutions, we offer the PCR test, alongside the IgG antibody test and a rapid antibody test. Please note that this is a private service, and will not deprive essential workers from access to tests.