An interesting abstract published in Wellcome Open research awaiting peer review looked into this issue.
Red and others studied the behavioural response to SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results as part of the REACT study. This is a large community based surveillance study of antibody prevalence in England.
A follow-up survey was conducted six weeks after the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test. The follow-up survey included 4,500 people with a positive result and 4,039 with a negative result.
Reported changes in behaviour were assessed using difference in differences models. A nested interview study was conducted with 40 people to explore how they thought through their variable decisions.
The results showed that whilst respondents reduced their protective behaviours over the six weeks, it did not find evidence that a positive test result changed participants’ behaviour trajectories in relation to the number of contacts the respondents had, for leaving the house to go to work, or for leaving the house to socialise in a personal place. The qualitative findings supported these results.
Most people did not think they had changed their behaviours because of their test results.
However, they did allude to some changes in their attitudes and perceptions around risk, susceptibility, and potential severity of symptoms.
The study concluded that it found limited evidence that knowing your antibody status led to behavioural changes in the context of the research study.
Whilst this finding should not be generalised to widespread self-testing in other contexts, it is reassuring given the importance of a large prevalence study and the practicality of doing these at scale using self-testing with lateral flow immunoacids.
The London General Practice, the leading London doctors’ clinic in Harley Street offers all types of SARS-CoV-2 testing including:
- Rapid lateral flow antigen
- Fast track PCR swabbing, the most advanced antibody testing and now the new humeral T-cell response.
It also offers a full travel service with Covid test results available same day and also fast track results for those who have to travel quickly.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
BM, DRCOG, FRCGP, FRIPH, DOccMed