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About the test
The cerascreen® Coronavirus Vaccine Effectiveness Test is a send-in test kit that identifies two different IgG-class antibodies against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which are usually present after vaccination or infection.
With the send-in test kit, the sample can be taken at home. The laboratory analysis takes place in an accredited medical laboratory.
COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test
- Gives an indication of whether vaccination with licensed vaccines was successful
- Tests whether a larger amount of antibodies can still be detected a long time after vaccination
- There is evidence that the likelihood of a severe infection is lower when the S1 antibody count is high after vaccination
- Is as accurate as a laboratory analysis carried out by a doctor or in the hospital
- Can be taken discreetly and comfortably within the privacy of your home
- Receive the results within one to two working days after the sample’s arrival in the laboratory
- Price includes laboratory and shipping costs
Benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test
You can take the test comfortably, safely and discreetly at home – this means that you don’t need to leave your home or visit a doctor or test centre during the pandemic.
The cerascreen® COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test is carried out by a specialist diagnostic laboratory and uses the same procedures that are used for coronavirus research. You will receive a breakdown of which antibodies were detected and at which concentration.
Benefit from our expertise: cerascreen® is the market leader for medical sampling and home test kits in Europe, with eight years of experience in test development and evaluation. We have developed more than 50 approved send-in test kits (medical devices), evaluate around 150,000 samples annually and supply 20 countries.Results
Result of the COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test
As soon as your sample has been analysed, you will receive your results report via the My cerascreen® app or by logging in on our website. You can easily view the report on your smartphone, tablet or computer and read it printed out, if required.
Find out the concentration of S1 and NP antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory analysis. Learn how to understand the results and when it may be useful to seek medical advice with the help of our recommendations. We also provide further information on vaccination and the Covid-19 pandemic.Questions
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test
Why test for antibodies after receiving a Covid-19 vaccination?
The aim of vaccination is that your body develops competent immune cells and produces antibodies, with which it can quickly recognise and fight a specific pathogen, such as the coronavirus, in the future – ideally, before the disease even breaks out.
According to current knowledge, IgG antibodies play an important role in Covid-19 vaccinations. These antibodies remain in our bodies for a long time. They also include neutralising antibodies , which prevent the virus from entering the human cell. Overall, the antibodies support the immune system in fighting and destroying the virus.
The immune system produces different IgG antibodies, each of which acts against very specific protein building blocks of the virus. The exact type of antibodies detected in the blood therefore gives an indication of whether the person has been successfully vaccinated with the vaccines approved so far (anti-S1 antibodies), or whether they have been infected with Covid-19 (anti-NP antibodies) – or both.
Furthermore, study results that a higher number of anti-S1 antibodies after vaccination is associated with a lower risk of a severe infection in the future.
Please note: The antibody test cannot provide a 100 per cent accurate statement on whether a vaccination was successful. Besides the antibodies, other cells of the immune system, such as memory cells, also play a role in immunity. Even a vaccination that is not completely effective seems to reduce the risk of severe Covid-19 infections.
Who should take the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness test?
The antibody test is useful for all people who are either fully vaccinated– that is, they have already received two vaccination doses against Covid-19 – or who suspect that they have already had Covid-19 in the past. In both cases, the test can tell you if there are corresponding antibodies in your blood.
If you currently have the symptoms of flu or a cold and want to be tested for acute infection, an antibody test is not suitable. Antibodies cannot always be detected at an early stage of the illness. If you want to find out whether you are infected, a PCR test is more useful. This test will provide more certainty as to whether you have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Please note: The IgG antibodies examined in the test are only formed gradually, both after vaccination and after infection. In order for the results to be accurate, you should therefore not carry out the test too early. As a rule of thumb, you should wait at least three weeks after receiving the second vaccination dosebefore carrying out the COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test.
How does the test work?
The cerascreen® COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test is a collection self-test kit for home use. You take a small blood sample from your fingertip – when and where you want. To do this, prick yourself with a lancet and collect a few drops of blood on a dry blood card. You then send the card with the sample back to us, at which point your blood is analysed in a specialised medical laboratory.
The laboratory uses the established ELISA measurement method to detect the S1 and NP antibodies in your blood that the body produces against the coronavirus.
Once the analysis is complete, you will receive a notification by email or via the My cerascreen® app. You can then download your personal results report with your test results.
How conclusive is the covid vaccine effectiveness test?
The cerascreen® COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Test uses scientifically established measurement processes to analyse Covid-19 antibody blood samples. Such analyses are used, for example, in scientific studies investigating the effectiveness of vaccines or population coverage.
What do the results tell me?
The results report tells you which concentrations of anti-S1 antibodies and anti-NP antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were measured in your blood sample. You will also receive reference ranges, above which the concentrations are considered relevant.
Anti-S1 antibodies are formed against S1 spike proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. They can usually be detected after successful vaccination with mRNA or vector vaccines – but also after Covid-19 infection.
Anti-NP antibodies are formed against the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2, the main structural protein from inside the virus. Considering the currently approved vaccines, these antibodies are measurable after a Covid-19 infection. The nucleocapsid protein is not part of the proteins that are produced in the body by the vaccines and against which antibodies are then formed.
Conclusions you can draw from your results report depend on whether the anti-S1 and anti-NP antibodies were detectable in your blood:
- Detection of S1 and NP: You have most likely already been infected with Covid-19.
- Only S1 antibodies are increased: You have probably successfully formed antibodies after vaccination.
- Only NP antibodies are increased: You have probably already had Covid-19; vaccination is recommended for full protection.
- Neither S1 nor NP antibodies are elevated: No antibodies were detected indicating vaccination or past infection. If you have received a vaccination, we recommend that you seek medical advice. It may be possible to achieve better protection against severe diseases by using a different vaccine.
What is the ELISA method?
ELISA stands for ‘Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay’. It is the standard scientific procedure that laboratories use to detect antibodies in blood. ELISA is used, for example, in allergy tests or in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, and is also the established laboratory method used for antibody tests against SARS-CoV-2.
The ELISA method works as follows: A special laboratory plate is coated with the virus (the antigen); then your sample is added. If there are antibodies in the sample, complexes of antibody and antigen form on the plate after some time.
The laboratory then adds a special enzyme that is also bound to an antibody. If there are antibody–antigen complexes on the plate, the new enzyme antibody structures attach themselves to these complexes. The larger complex that is created is called an ELISA sandwich.
When these so-called sandwiches are formed, a chemical substance added to the enzyme is transformed into a dye that can be seen on the plate. The intensity of this colour later indicates whether there are antibodies in the sample and, if so, at which concentration.
What are antibodies?
If pathogens, such as viruses, get into your body, your immune system works at full speed to fight them. Among other things, antibodies are produced in the process.
These antibodies are targeted to fight off very specific pathogens. Specific antibodies recognise a particular virus or bacterium, bind to the pathogen and allow the defence cells to attack it.
Once your immune system has produced the antibodies, they stay in your body for a long time. How long depends on the class of antibodies. IgG antibodies, for example, are active in fighting viruses for years in some cases. As long as they are in the body, they can render the same virus harmless when they encounter it again. If this is the case, you are practically immune to the pathogen – this is called immunisation.
What is an antibody titre?
When it comes to how long vaccinations or immunity last, people often talk about the antibody titre or vaccination titre. Nowadays, the term is often used synonymously with the concentration of certain antibodies in our blood. For example, if you have a lot of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in your blood, you would call this a high antibody titre.
Strictly speaking, a titre is a specialised procedure used to determine how many antibodies there are against a certain pathogen in your blood. In the process, blood is diluted further and further. The virus is then added to the various dilution levels (1:2, 1:4, 1:8 and so on). The highest dilution level at which the blood can still fight the virus is the titre. Thus, 1:1024 is a high titre, indicating there are many antibodies in the blood; 1:80 would be a low titre.
However, such titre measurements are used more for longer-known, well-studied infections. They are used, for example, to check the status of tetanus vaccinations.
Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are currently detected mainly via the ELISA method. This method allows the concentration of the specific antibodies in the blood to be measured. Above a certain threshold value, a blood sample is considered proof of immunity against the coronavirus. The cerascreen® COVID-19 Vaccination Effectiveness Test also uses the ELISA method.
How long does immunity last?
Studies from Canada and the United States, for example, have been able to detect neutralising antibodies for up to eight months after a Covid-19 infection. But it is not yet clear how long the antibodies usually remain in the body after vaccination or illness. Researchers are investigating this further – along with the question of how long people are immune to SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination or illness.
People in the United Kingdom are now being asked to have their booster dose, which is normally with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine. Research needs to be carried out regarding the effectiveness of a booster jab, as this is still considered a recent development.
Scientists also suspect that even after immunity has expired, there is still a certain degree of protection – what we call basic immunisation. In such instances, the coronavirus would presumably only trigger mild symptoms, such as a cough, cold and sore throat after a certain time.
What does vaccine effectiveness mean?
The effectiveness of the vaccines is currently a hot topic in the media. According to the vaccination studies, for example, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is said to be up to 95 per cent effective, while the AstraZeneca vaccine is only between 60 and 82 per cent effective, depending on the study.
But what does effectiveness (efficacy) actually mean in this case? Effectiveness describes how much lower the risk of getting sick was for vaccinated people in the vaccination studies. With an effectiveness of 60 per cent, 60 per cent fewer people among the vaccinated fell ill with Covid-19 than among the unvaccinated.
However, effectiveness says nothing about how vaccination affects the severity of disease progression.
Data from the vaccination studies and also, for example, from Israel, where many people have already been vaccinated, show that even with lower effectiveness, the vaccines reduce the risk of severe infections, hospitalisations and deaths enormously. Even if vaccinated people fall ill, the disease is usually much milder than without vaccination. In Israel, for example, of more than 500,000 people examined who have received the BioNTech vaccine, no one has died at a later stage from Covid-19.
Why are children under 18 not allowed to take the test?
Our tests are not suitable for underage children and adolescents under the age of 18. Under 18s cannot activate the tests online and therefore cannot receive a test result. We ask that you do not administer the tests to your children either.
Children and adolescents need much closer supervision and counselling regarding medical tests and their interpretation. Testing with lancets and chemicals is not without risk and would need to be closely supervised by guardians. In addition, the reference values we give are always based on adult data. In the case of children, the risk of misinterpreting the results would be very high.
We want to fulfil our responsibility as a provider of medical products and ensure that children and adolescents are not unsettled by measurement results that are difficult for them to interpret. Since we cannot control whether the minors' legal guardians actually consent to the test being carried out and supervise them, we exclude tests for under 18s altogether.
If you are under 18 and have purchased a test, please contact our customer support.
Why does it take up to a week for the sample to reach the lab?
Please bear in mind that your results will not be analyzed in the UK but in Germany. For that reason, it can take up to a week for the sample to arrive at the lab. This does not affect the stability of the samples, as the method we are using is optimized for long transports.
Initially, your sample is sent to our collection center in the UK. From there, it is shipped to our central sample sorting facility in Germany, which then distributes samples to our partner laboratories. Once your sample is analyzed there, you will receive a notification and can access your result online.
Please check your mailbox regularly. We will notify you as soon as your sample is sent, arrives, or is analyzed.Reviews
This is how it works
Your test kit contains everything you need to draw a small sample of blood from your fingertip. Then send the sample back to us free of charge in the enclosed return envelope.
After the evaluation in the medical specialist laboratory, you will have online access to your personal result report.
Your access to the test results and the evidence-based findings and tips to improve your health: the my cerascreen® user profile on our website or our app.
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