COVID-19 Lateral Flow Antibody Tests FAQs

Frequently-asked questions about your COVID-19 lateral flow antibody testing kit.

1.      Information

2.      Research Background
What is this research about?
Who is running this research?
What is a lateral flow antibody test?
Why have I been chosen to take part?
Can everyone in my household take part?
Can I save the test and take it at a later date?

3.      Taking Part
Do I have to take part?
What do I have to do?
Can I take the test if I am taking medication?
How do I register to take part and receive a test kit?
I don’t want to take part, can I opt out?
I don’t want to take part, what should I do with the kit?
I received a test kit, but this person does not live at this address. What do I do?

4.      Using the test kit
I’ve received the test kit. What do I do with it?
I am having trouble doing the test, can you help?
I haven’t got a booklet. What should I do?
Can someone help me take the test?
Can someone else take the test instead of me?
I did the test wrong. Can you send me another test?
Can I reuse the test?
Can you send me another test at a later date?
I’ve injured myself or feel unwell – what should I do?

5.      Reading your test results
How do I get the results of my test?
How do I read the test result?
The testing stick result is faint. Does that affect the result?
How accurate is the test?
I accidently did someone else’s test, what do I do?
Is there a cut-off date for taking the test?

6.      IgM Positive test result
My test result is IgM positive, what does this mean?
My test result is IgM positive, am I immune to COVID-19?
My test result is IgM positive, am I infectious?
My test result is IgM positive, can I break social distancing rules?
My test result is IgM positive, do I have to self-isolate?

7.      IgG Positive test result
My test result is IgG positive, what does this mean?
My test result is IgG positive, am I immune to COVID-19?
My test result is IgG positive, am I infectious?
My test result is IgG positive, can I break social distancing rules?
My test result is IgG positive, do I have to self-isolate?
I’ve tested positive for IgG after having a COVID-19 vaccine, does this mean it’s worked and I’m protected from the virus?

8.      Negative test result
My test result is negative, what does this mean?
My test result is negative, am I immune to COVID-19?
My test result is negative, am I infectious?
My test result is negative, do I have to self-isolate?
I’ve tested negative for IgG after having a Covid-19 vaccine, does this mean it hasn’t worked and I could still get COVID-19?

9.      Invalid test result
My test result is invalid, what does this mean?

10.      The online survey
How do I complete the online survey?
Can I complete the online survey if I have not done the test?
Why do I need to take a photograph of my test result, and how should I send this to you?

11.         General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Ethics
Is this research GDPR compliant?
What is your legal basis for processing my personal data?
What are my choices about how my information is used?
Where can I find out more about how my information is used?
Has this research received ethical approval?
Are national data opt-outs applied to this survey?
Has Ipsos MORI got access to my health data?
Who is my name and address shared with?
Does this survey use Cookies or similar code?
What happens to the answers I give online?
Where will my personal data be held and processed?
How will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London ensure my personal information is secure?
Our insurance statement
How long will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London retain my personal data and identifiable responses?
How to make a complaint.

1. Information

  1. If you need government advice on coronavirus, please refer to the government website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  2. If you need medical advice, please refer to the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
  3. 3. If you have any questions which are not answered in the FAQs, please contact the FREEPHONE helpline by calling 0800 819 9150 or emailing [email protected].

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2. Research Background

What is this research about?

The study aims to estimate how many immunosuppressed people in the UK have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19 after having had at least 3 vaccines. We don’t know yet if having antibodies, gives someone who is immunosuppressed long-lasting protection from the virus. The results of this study may help assess the impact of the vaccines on the level of antibody response to COVID-19 across the UK and help guide public health policy towards vulnerable groups.

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Who is running this research?

This research is being run by doctors and researchers at Imperial College London, NHS Digital, NHS Blood and Transplant, University of Southampton, University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham and Ipsos MORI, an independent research organisation. Ipsos MORI are facilitating the research on behalf of the research team at NHS Blood and Transplant and NHS Digital.

The research is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in collaboration with health charities (Kidney Research UK, Vasculitis UK, Blood Cancer UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust).

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What is a lateral flow antibody test?

A lateral flow antibody test looks like a COVID-19 test kit but works differently, it involves pricking the tip of your finger to get a blood spot for testing. The test should be self-administered and takes only a few minutes to complete. This will test for an antibody that reacts with the virus that causes COVID-19.  It may cause some mild short-lived discomfort. You will be able to see the outcome of the lateral flow test within 10 to 15 minutes.

We will provide full instructions with the kit and you can watch a video on how to take the test [www.melodystudy.org/antibodytest]. There is no obligation to take the test if you agree to be sent it.

The results are not 100% accurate and should not be used to guide your behaviour. A positive test does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus, and a negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19. Whatever your test result, it is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice.

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Why have I been chosen to take part?

You have been invited to take part in this study because you are an adult who has received a solid organ transplant, or you have been identified by the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS) as someone who may have a rare autoimmune disease or a form of blood cancer. 

Please note that if you are a transplant patient, then in a small number of cases, the information stored in the NHS Blood and Transplant registry is incomplete and this may prevent you registering. In this case, we apologise and suggest you call the FREEPHONE number 0800 819 9150, to assess whether this error may be corrected. 

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Can everyone in my household take part?

No - only those who have been invited can register and participate in the study.

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Can I save the test and take it at a later date?

Please complete the test and survey as soon as possible once you have received the test.

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3. Taking Part

Do I have to take part?

No. Whether you take part in the study is entirely up to you. Even if you do decide to take part, you can change your mind at any time without giving a reason. You should be aware that data collected about you up to the time you decide to stop taking part may still be used as part of the research study results. If you have received the test and then decide you don’t want to take part anymore, please throw away the testing kit securely with your regular household waste, being careful to keep it out of reach of children and pets.

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What do I have to do?

If you have been invited to take part and agree to do so, you will need to register online or telephone our FREEPHONE helpline 0800 819 9150 and answer some questions about you. We will then send you a COVID-19 self-testing antibody kit. The test involves pricking the tip of your finger to get a blood spot for testing.  This test is self-administered at home. We will provide full instructions with the kit. There is no obligation to take the test if you agree to be sent it. 

Once you have done the test, you will be able to see the outcome of the antibody test within 10 to 15 minutes, but please be aware that the results are not 100% accurate at an individual level. A positive test does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus, and a negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19. Whatever your test result, it is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice.

We would also like you to complete two short surveys as well as doing the test, collecting information about you, your household and current health status. In the first survey will ask you for your consent to take part and register for the study. In the second survey that we will send to you after you have registered, we will ask you to take a photo of your test result and upload it as part of the survey. There is a mechanism within the survey itself to allow you to upload the photo of your test result. We ask that you complete the survey even if you have not done the test.

If you agree, Imperial College London may link the results to other health information (e.g. GP health records) that the NHS holds about you. This linkage would be done by the NHS. This information will be kept securely, and only pseudo-anonymised data will be shared beyond the study team.  A full Privacy Policy, setting out your rights and covering accessing, amending and deleting your data, is available at www.ipsos.uk/antibodyPrivacy.

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What are the possible risks or side-effects of taking part? 

Collecting the blood sample for the self-test requires a finger prick which can feel like a little pinch, which may cause some people a small amount of discomfort.  For those patients on blood thinning medication, we also ask that the cotton wool swab supplied is used to press on the area of the finger prick test, until bleeding is stopped.

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How do I register to take part and receive a test kit?

If you have been invited by letter addressed to your home address, you should register for the study by visiting www.melodystudy.org/rega, or by telephoning our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150.

If you are a transplant patient, you should register for the study by visiting www.melodystudy.org/regt, or by telephoning our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150.

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I don’t want to take part, can I opt out?

Yes. Please telephone our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150 or email [email protected]. When you contact us please provide your address or the eight-character access code on your letter.If you have registered as a transplant patient and do not have an access code, please provide us with your name and address, Ipsos MORI will remove you from our survey database in the limited time we hold your information.

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I don’t want to take part, what should I do with the kit?

Please complete the survey so we know why people are not able or willing to use the test kits.  If you have received your test kit but you do not want to take part, please dispose of the test kit securely – do not pass it to anyone else, even if they feel unwell.

To safely dispose of the test kit, please:

  • Place the testing stick back into its foil wrapper
  • Place all of the test kit items into the plastic case they came in.
  • Dispose of the kit with your regular household waste.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

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I received a test kit, but this person does not live at this address. What do I do?

If you have received a test kit which is not addressed to you or someone in your household, please do not take the test but dispose of the test securely.

To safely dispose of the test kit, please:

  • Place the testing stick back into its foil wrapper.
  • Place all of the test kit items into the plastic case they came in.
  • Dispose of the kit with your regular household waste.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

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4. Using the test kit

I’ve received the test kit. What do I do with it?

We are asking you to administer a lateral flow antibody test which involves pricking the tip of your finger to get a blood spot for testing. This test is self-administered at home. There should be an instruction booklet included in the envelope with the test which we ask you to read carefully. You can also watch a video on how to administer the test [www.melodystudy.org/antibodytest].  The test can be self-administered and takes only a few minutes to complete. It may cause short-term discomfort.

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I am having trouble doing the test, can you help?

Please refer to the instructions that accompanied the test kit for full details about how to do the test. Someone else in your household may also be able to help if you are having trouble. If you require any further information about doing the test, please contact our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150 or email [email protected]. When you contact us, please provide your address or the eight-character access code on your letter if you have one. If you are a transplant patient; it would be helpful if you could provide us with your 10 digit NHS number. You can find your NHS number on any letter or prescription from the NHS.  

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I haven’t got an instruction booklet. What should I do?

If you haven’t got an instruction booklet, please contact our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150 or email [email protected]. When you contact us, please provide your address or the eight-character access code on your letter if you have one. A replacement booklet will be posted to you. This can be emailed to you if you prefer. Do not do the test until you have received a copy of the instruction booklet.

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Can someone help me take the test?

Yes, you can ask someone to help you. The instructions give full details about how to do this.

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Can somebody else take the test instead of me?

No. If you have registered for the test and receive the test in your name this must not be completed by another person in your household or by anyone else you know. If you do not want to complete the test after receiving it, please dispose of it securely and do not pass it on to anyone else.

How do I dispose of a test kit?
To safely dispose of the test kit, please:

  • Place the testing stick back into its foil wrapper.
  • Place all of the test kit items into the plastic case they came in.
  • Dispose of the kit with your regular household waste.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

For the study findings to be accurate it is important that only those individuals who are sent the tests do them. Please do not pass the test kit to anyone who has not registered.

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I did the test wrong. Can you send me another test?

Unfortunately, we are not able to send you a replacement.

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Can I reuse the test?

No, do not attempt to reuse the test.  It is a single-use disposable device which is not intended for multiple uses. The device will not register a second test and reusing a single use lancet may risk infection. Please dispose of the kit securely and do not reuse it. 

To safely dispose of the test kit, please:

  • Place the testing stick back into its foil wrapper.
  • Place all of the test kit items into the plastic case they came in.
  • Dispose of the kit with your regular household waste.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

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Can you send me another test at a later date?

This research will help the Government develop its approach to COVID-19 antibody testing at home. Unfortunately, as part of this research we are not able to send you a replacement even if you do not think the test has worked. Unfortunately at this stage, we cannot say whether you will or will not receive another test at a later date either as part of this or other research programmes or a wider national roll out of home antibody testing kits.

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I’ve injured myself or feel unwell – what should I do?

In the unlikely event you injure yourself or feel unwell, please seek medical attention.  Use the NHS 111 online service.  If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111.  For a medical emergency dial 999.

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5. Reading your test results

How do I get the results of my test?

Please refer to the instruction booklet you received with your test kit explaining how to read your results. You will be able to see the outcome of the antibody test within 10 to 15 minutes on the testing stick.

Please be aware that the results are not 100% accurate at an individual level. A positive test does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus, and a negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19. Whatever your test result, it is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice.

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How do I read the test result?

Instructions on how to read your test result are in the instruction booklet which was included with your test pack. This has a diagram which shows how to interpret the testing stick results.

Please be aware that the results are not 100% accurate at an individual level. A positive test does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus, and a negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19. Whatever your test result, it is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice.

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The testing stick result is faint. Does that affect the result?

No, if the testing stick result show faint line(s) instead of strong line(s) this does not change the result. Please refer to instruction booklet.

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How accurate is the test?

Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight infection. This test looks for two types of antibodies, IgM (‘M’ line), which are often short-lasting, and IgG (‘G’ line), which are usually longer lasting. By looking for antibodies in blood, we can understand whether someone has had an antibody response to COVID-19, either due to a COVID-19 vaccine or because they have previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Please be aware that the results are not 100% accurate at an individual level. A positive test does not necessarily mean that you are fully protected from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus, and a negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have antibodies that may provide protection against COVID-19. Whatever your test result, it is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice.

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Is there a cut-off date for taking the test?

Please complete the test and online survey as soon as you can. The study will be open for a limited amount of time.

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6. IgM positive test result

My test result is IgM positive, what does this mean?

This test is not reliable for IgM. Therefore, this result cannot tell you whether or not you have developed antibodies. A positive IgM test should be ignored. You should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgM positive, am I immune to COVID-19?

This test is not reliable for IgM. A positive IgM test should be ignored. You should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgM positive, am I infectious?

This test is not reliable for IgM. A positive IgM test should be ignored. You should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgM positive, can I break social distancing rules?

This test is not reliable for IgM. A positive IgM test should be ignored. You must continue to follow current government guidance on social distancing. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgM positive, do I have to self-isolate?

This test is not reliable for IgM. A positive IgM test should be ignored. You and your household must still follow self-isolation guidelines if you have any symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, you and your household must still follow social distancing rules. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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7. IgG positive test result

My test result is IgG positive, what does this mean?

A positive IgG test indicates that you might have had COVID-19 in the past and have developed antibodies against the virus or that you have developed antibodies following a COVID-19 vaccine. At the moment, we do not know if having antibodies, either due to having a COVID-19 vaccine or because of previous infection with the virus gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. Therefore, whatever your test result, you should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgG positive, am I immune to COVID-19?

No, a positive IgG test result does not mean you are immune. At the moment, we do not know if having antibodies, either due to having a COVID-19 vaccine or because of previous infection with the virus gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. Therefore, whatever your test result, you should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgG positive, am I infectious?

You should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgG positive, can I break social distancing rules?

No, you must continue to follow current government guidance on social distancing. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is IgG positive, do I have to self-isolate?

You and your household must still follow self-isolation guidelines if you have any symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, you and your household must still follow social distancing rules. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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I’ve tested positive for IgG after having a COVID-19 vaccine, does this mean it’s worked and I’m protected from the virus?

A positive IgG test result could indicate that you may have had an immune response to the vaccine and have developed antibodies: although it’s important to remember that these tests aren’t 100% accurate. This type of antibody test also doesn’t differentiate if you have had an immune response because of the vaccine or because you have previously been infected with the virus. At the moment, we do not know if having antibodies, either due to having a COVID-19 vaccine or because of previous infection with the virus gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. Therefore, whatever your test result, you should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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8. Negative test result

My test result is negative, what does this mean?

If your test result is negative this means the test has not found antibodies in your blood that react with the virus that causes COVID-19.

However, please do not be concerned if your antibody test result is negative even if you have had a vaccine. It is possible that the antibody test will be unable to detect low levels of antibodies produced in response to a COVID-19 vaccine. It can take some time for antibodies to appear in the blood after a vaccine which can vary from individual to individual. In particular factors like age or certain medicines may determine how quickly your body will produce antibodies.
Whatever your test result, you must continue to follow Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and for more information on the effectiveness of vaccine please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/.

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My test result is negative, am I immune to COVID-19?

No, a negative test result does not mean you are immune. A negative result may mean that you have never been exposed to virus or that you have antibodies to the virus, but they are below the limit of detection with this test. It is possible that the antibody test will be unable to detect low levels of antibodies produced in response to a COVID-19 vaccine. It can take some time for antibodies to appear in the blood after a vaccine which can vary from individual to individual. In particular factors like age or certain medicines may determine how quickly your body will produce antibodies.

At the moment, we do not know if having antibodies, either due to having a COVID-19 vaccine or because of previous infection with the virus gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. You should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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My test result is negative, am I infectious?

The result of this test does not tell us anything about infectivity. You should continue to follow the current government advice regarding social distancing and self-isolation, regardless of the result of this test. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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My test result is negative, do I have to self-isolate?

If you get a negative result, you and your household must still follow self-isolation guidelines if you have any symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, you and your household must still follow social distancing rules. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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I’ve tested negative for IgG after having a COVID-19 vaccine, does this mean it hasn’t worked and I could still get COVID-19?

Please do not be concerned if your antibody test result is negative even if you have had a vaccine. It is possible that the antibody test will be unable to detect low levels of antibodies produced in response to a COVID-19 vaccine. After a COVID-19 vaccine it can take some time for antibodies to appear in the blood which can vary from individual to individual. In particular factors like age or certain medicines may determine how quickly your body will produce antibodies, so depending on when you had your vaccine it may be that they have not yet appeared.

At the moment, we do not know if having antibodies, either due to having a COVID-19 vaccine or because of previous infection with the virus gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. By taking part in research and telling us about your COVID-19 vaccine, you are helping us to understand more.

Whatever your test result, you should continue to follow current Government advice. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and for more information on the effectiveness of vaccine please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/.

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9. Invalid test result

My test result is invalid, what does this mean?

If your test result is invalid this means the test has not worked and it is not possible to give you a result. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus     

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10. The online survey

How do I complete the online survey?

Please go to www.melodystudy.org/antibodytest to complete the online survey. You will need your access code included with your test letter and pictures of your test kit.  Alternatively, we can help you complete it on the phone by calling our FREEPHONE helpline on 0800 819 9150.

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Can I complete the online survey if I have not done the test?

Yes, we are interested in hearing the views of those who have and have not completed the test. Please still complete the online survey by going on www.melodystudy.org/antibodytest.

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Why do I need to take a photograph of my test result, and how should I send this to you?

If you participate in the study, you will be asked to take a photograph of your test result within 10-15 minutes from when you have undertaken the blood test. We would like you to upload your photograph when prompted to do so at the relevant question in the survey, as this will aid our analysis. If you are unable to upload your photograph, please do not email it as this is not a secure way to provide your test result. Instead, you should select the option “Unable to upload photo”, and then continue with the rest of the survey questionnaire. If you cannot upload your photograph (or if you are unable to take a photograph of your test result), you should still complete the survey.

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11. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Ethics

Is this research GDPR compliant?

Yes.  Ipsos MORI is a member of the Market Research Society. All information that you give us will be treated in the strictest confidence and your identity will not be passed on to a third party other than the research team.

The GDPR includes a number of rights, although not all of these apply where the legal basis for processing is public task, including the right to erasure and data portability.

You have the right to request access to any personal data within the limited period that Ipsos MORI holds it, before 31 March 2022 when it will be securely deleted.

Providing responses to this survey is entirely voluntary and is done so with your consent.  You have the right to withdraw your consent to our processing of your personal data at any time before the data is processed for reporting.

We must generally respond to requests in relation to your rights within one month, although there are some exceptions to this.

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or another data protection regulator, if you have concerns on how we have processed your personal data. You can find details about how to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/ or by sending an email to: [email protected].

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What is your legal basis for processing my personal data?

We use personally identifiable information during this study to conduct research to improve health, care and services.

Health and care research should serve the public interest, which means that we have to demonstrate that our research serves the interests of society as a whole. We do this by following the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

Our legal basis for using your information under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, is as follows:

  • performance of a task carried out in the public interest” (Article 6(1)(e) in the GDPR).
  • Where special category personal information is involved, we rely on “scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes (Article 9(2)(j) in accordance with Article 89(1) in the GDPR)”.

The National Disease Registration Service operate under the National Disease Registries Directions 2021. The legal basis for processing your information is under Sections 254(1) and 254(6) of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act (the 2012 Act).

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What are my choices about how my information is used?

You can stop taking part in the study at any time, without giving a reason, however once your data has been included with the rest of the study data and analysed, it is not possible to remove your specific data from the results.

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Where can I find out more about how my information is used?

You can find out more about how your information is used on the patient information sheet which includes the study privacy notice on www.ipsos.uk/antibodyPrivacy. For further information on Patient information and health and care research please visit www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients.

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Has this research received ethical approval?

To protect your interests, all research at Imperial College London is reviewed by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee. This study has been reviewed and it has been granted ‘favourable opinion’ by the London-Central Research Ethics Committee.

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Are national data opt-outs applied to this survey?

No. National Data Opt-out only applies when confidential patient information is being used for purposes other than care for the individual. Confidential patient information includes clinical data about the individual (such as any medical conditions, prescriptions or care received), and any information about the individual that has been accessed via the individual’s medical record. This survey only uses demographic data and contact details drawn from patient registration records to select and contact individuals to take part. This personal data is not classified as confidential patient information as no clinical information is used or accessed. As such, the National Data Opt-out does not apply.

Imperial College London request your consent to link the study data to other health information that the NHS holds about you. Since we would only do this with your consent the national data opt-out would not apply.

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Has Ipsos MORI got access to my health data?

No, absolutely not. Ipsos MORI has only been given very limited information in order to invite you to take part in the study (ie your name and address) and/or to confirm your eligibility (ie your NHS number and year of organ transplant if applicable). Ipsos MORI has not been provided with any information about your health.

Ipsos MORI are given your NHS number so that they can identify you if you have previously opted-out from the survey to ensure they do not contact you again. Your contact details are used to contact you regarding the survey.

Information about month and year of birth and gender will be used to make sure that the anonymised survey data matches the profile of the population as closely as possible.

We will ask your consent for Imperial College London to link data held by NHS Digital and other NHS bodies to your survey data, but you can refuse consent or withdraw this consent at any point.

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Do you share my information with others?

To run this COVID-19 testing research Ipsos MORI works with a number of supplier organisations involved in the print and despatch of invitation letters and testing kits, mail and text message services and online data collection. These suppliers are all approved and compliant with the Genera Data Protection Regulations. Any third party service providers are required to enter into data processing agreements and will only be permitted to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with Imperial College, NHS Digital and NHS Blood and Transplant policies.
If you consent to be re-contacted, NHS Digital and NHS Blood and Transplant may share your personal data with certain researchers as outlined above. Any research study would require full ethical approval.

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Does this survey use Cookies or similar code?

Yes. Some online surveys collect information through the use of 'cookies'. These are small files stored on your computer.  These files are used as sparingly as possible and only for quality control, validation and, more importantly, to prevent us sending you reminders for an online survey you have already completed. It is possible for you to delete 'cookies' or to prevent their use by adjusting the browser settings on your computer.

We also automatically capture information about your operating system, display settings and browser type in order to ensure that the online survey is delivered in a form suited to the software your computer is using. We do not capture any other information from your computer.

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What happens to the answers I give online?

Imperial College London, NHS Digital and NHS Blood and Transplant are joint data controllers for the processing of personal data for this survey, which means that they are responsible for ensuring that the processing complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It is extremely important to us that we maintain your confidentiality about taking part in this study. All information collected about you will be used and stored securely to protect and respect your identity. Your data (the information collected about you) will be given a unique study number to make sure you cannot be identified from your data. Only the Research Team at Ipsos MORI, NHS Blood and Transplant or NHS Digital will be able to match your name to the unique study number, if it is necessary to do so.

If you consent to take part in the research your name will not be shared outside the Research Team. We confirm that your personal data will never be available to the general public in any circumstances. The results of this research are likely to be published but will not contain any personal information which could identify you. Please keep this information sheet for reference.

We will also ask if you are happy for Imperial College London to link your answers and the results of your test to your NHS record. If you agree to this, Imperial College London may also link your survey answers to other health information that the NHS holds about you both now and in the future using your NHS number. This linkage would be done by the NHS and returned to Imperial College London.

More information about how your personal information is protected, and who it is shared with is included in the study privacy notice which can be found here: www.ipsos.uk/melodystudyinfoandprivacy.

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Where will my personal data be held and processed?

All of your personal data used and collected for this survey will be stored by Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London in data centres and servers within the United Kingdom and EEA.

Imperial College London may wish to collaborate with international researchers on the data at a later stage. As such, there may be a requirement to transfer information to countries outside the EEA (for example, to a research partner). Where this information contains your personal data, Imperial College London will ensure that it is transferred in accordance with data protection legislation. If the data is transferred to a country which is not subject to a European Commission (EC) adequacy decision in respect of its data protection standards, Imperial College London will enter into a data sharing agreement with the recipient organisation that incorporates EC approved standard contractual clauses that safeguard how your personal data is processed.

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How will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London ensure my personal information is secure?

Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London take their information security responsibilities seriously and apply various precautions to ensure your information is protected from loss, theft or misuse.  Security precautions include appropriate physical security of offices and controlled and limited access to computer systems.

Ipsos MORI has regular internal and external audits of its information security controls and working practices and is accredited to the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001.

Similar processes are in place at Imperial College London where a database to carry out statistical analyses of the data at postcode level will be established in an ISO 27001 environment.

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Our insurance statement

Imperial College London holds insurance policies which apply to this study. If you experience harm or injury as a result of taking part in this study, you will be eligible to claim compensation without having to prove that Imperial College is at fault. This does not affect your legal rights to seek compensation.

If you are harmed due to someone's negligence, then you may have grounds for a legal action.

Regardless of this, if you wish to complain, or have any concerns about any aspect of the way you have been treated during the course of this study then you should immediately inform the Investigators on [email protected]. The normal National Health Service mechanisms are also available to you. If you are still not satisfied with the response, you may contact the Imperial College, Joint Research Compliance Office.

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How long will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London retain my personal data and identifiable responses?

Ipsos MORI is a data processor, acting on behalf of Imperial College London, NHS Digital and NHS Blood and Transplant. They will only keep your data in a way that can identify you for as long as is necessary to support the research project and findings. By end of March 2022 Ipsos MORI will delete your personal contact data from their systems.

If you consent to being contacted for future research, and/or you agree for the results of this study to be linked to other health information that the NHS holds about you (e.g. GP health records), NHS Digital and NHS Blood and Transplant may keep your data for up to 10 years in order to support this research. That includes the contact details you provide to Ipsos MORI. If you have consented to data linkage, we may receive your contact details from the NHS and, if you have consented to be contacted for future studies, we may use them to contact you.

Researchers who wish to access the data from this study and/or to contact participants about future research will need to have a legitimate reason to do so, the approval of a Research Ethics Committee and will have to apply to a data access committee composed of at least 3 of the study investigators (from NHS Blood and Transplant, NHS Digital and Imperial College London), and at least one public representative.

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How to make a complaint.

If you are concerned because you have received an invitation letter to participate, but you do not think you have a rare autoimmune disease or cancer, please contact [email protected] (with the subject line of “MELODY study invitation enquiry”) or by post: Director, NDRS, 2nd floor, The Government Hub, 23 St Stephenson Street, Birmingham B2 4BH.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, please contact: 

Ipsos MORI’s Data Protection Officer via email at [email protected] with “COVID-19 home testing (21-086406-01)” in the email subject line, and/or via post COVID-19 home testing (21-086406-01), Compliance Department, Market and Opinion Research International Limited, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, United Kingdom.

Imperial College London’s Data Protection Officer via email at [email protected], via telephone on 020 7594 3502 and/or via post at Imperial College London, Data Protection Officer, Faculty Building Level 4, London SW7 2AZ.

NHS Digital’s Data Protection Officer, Kevin Willis via email [email protected] 

NHS Blood and Transplant’s Data Protection Officer, Katrina Smith, via [email protected]  

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO does recommend that you seek to resolve matters with the data controller (Imperial College London) first before involving the regulator.

Additional contact details 

If you have further questions about this study, please contact the Research Team, email [email protected].  

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