Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at Imperial

During this pandemic, we’ve very explicitly seen the impact of COVID-19 on our entire population – whether that’s through contracting the virus itself to having our freedom of movement and choice restricted by things involving lockdown and border control. I write this to say that through the past year, we’ve all been affected. In line with this logic, our actions also affect one another, to a great extent. There’s not been more of a plain example in my mind whereby we can help human kind through our own actions. Basic respect of social distancing, masks on and adhering to social gathering restrictions will create massive impact in collective efforts. To add to this, Imperial College of London are offering asymptomatic testing to all staff and students, free of charge – available at multiple campuses across university sites. By testing, you ensure that should your result be positive, you can properly self isolate and help reduce the risk of unknowingly passing on the virus to others. Note, if you have symptoms you should follow the NHS advice to book a test on their website.

How do I book? To book the asymptomatic test you can register online. Tests are available to book up to 15 days in advance. There are many times and dates available across campus sites which is ideal for a lot of us being based on campuses around North West London. All booking information can be found here.

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What is this test? This testing scheme aims to estimate the actual prevalence of asymptomatic infection in staff and students from our university so as to promptly indicate where an individual must self-isolate. We’re trying to reduce transmission rates as efficiently as possible, so this nose and throat swab sample is a simple yet quality-assured test for those not experiencing symptoms to do in acting in the best interest of others. The nature of this test being a nasal and throat swab means the procedure itself isn’t anything too complex. To fully inform yourself as to what you’ll be doing on the day, watch this video where Dr Khan demonstrates exactly how to take your samples effectively (remember, you do not want to have to repeat the test merely because you didn’t collect enough of a sample!).

How long do the results take? I received my results that same evening. On average, students and staff are receiving their results within two working days of testing, through email. If your result is ‘detected’, this means that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and vice versa, ‘not detected’ meaning a negative test. If your result is ‘inadequate’, this means you should book another test as perhaps the swab sample wasn’t sufficient to accurately give a result.

I would very much encourage all students and staff to go for the asymptomatic test if you haven’t done so already. Let us not forget the impact of this pandemic for those more at risk, vulnerable and even some of whom you wouldn’t have expected to even attain complications. Through taking what is relatively a small chunk out of your day, you can rest assured knowing you played a small and yet incredibly significant part in us trying to collectively reduce our country’s COVID-19 case rates.

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