Frequently Asked Questions

Website and PCR FAQs

What is a PCR test?

A PCR test detects the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is extremely sensitive and can detect even very small numbers of the virus present in your nose/throat. When you take the swab, virus particles are collected. The swab is returned to our laboratory where our trained scientists use sophisticated analytical equipment to detect the presence of the virus.

Don’t worry, the test is simple for you to do and can be done at home. We give you everything you need including the packaging to send it safely back to our laboratory for testing.

How does a PCR test work?

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 contains genetic material called RNA. A swab is taken from the back of the nose/throat and if the person is infected it will contain virus particles. The swab is returned to our laboratory and our trained scientists use a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the virus’s genetic material to make it detectable. Even if small numbers of virus particles are present, our test is sensitive enough so we will be able to find them. We can tell you with very high certainty if you’ve had the virus, or not, on the day you tested.

Why should I have a PCR test?

A PCR test will confirm if you were infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 on the day you took the test. You may need a PCR test:

to travel to foreign countries; and/or
when you return to the UK; or
if you are concerned that you or a family member is infected.

How do I know my test is being processed?

When you order a test, you will create your account on our website giving us details that identify you, such as your name, address, email, mobile phone number and passport number.

We will use your email/SMS to send you confirmation:

that your order has been received,
a reminder to register your kit on the day you need to take your test,
when your sample arrives back at our laboratory having been posted by you, and the result of your test.

What do I get to prove that I am ok to travel?

If you have ordered a Test to Travel kit and your test result is negative, we will send you a certificate declaring your test result, the date of the test and personal information that identifies you. The certificate will also be available on your account page for easy reference.

How do I get my test sample back to your laboratory?

When you order one of our kits we give you all the packaging necessary to return it to us safely.

DPD will deliver your test to your home address. There is Next Day DPD Courier Delivery for all tests ordered before 3pm.

DPD will contact you to let you know of delivery time, and to schedule collection from your home address for all PCR tests.

If you need to rearrange collection, you must contact DPD yourself, as this is not something Excalibur can do on your behalf.

Orders placed on or after 31 July 2021 will be returned by DPD, whereas orders placed on or before 30 July 2021 are returned by Royal Mail.

To find out more, please go to the menu above and select ‘About Testing’ and scroll down to ‘How to return a PCR Test’.

If you record the return label number, you can track your package as it travels to us.

How fast is it?

We aim to provide you with your test result within 24 hours of receiving your sample. Often it will be quicker than this. We will keep you updated by email/SMS as your order is processed and your result is known.

I don’t have a mobile phone. How will you contact me?

If you don’t have a mobile phone, don’t worry, we will email you.

If you prefer, you can nominate a trusted friend or family member to receive notifications from us about your test.

What guarantee do I have?

We guarantee to process your test within 24 hrs of it arriving back at our laboratory.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the postal service.

As we will be expecting your test on a particular day we will let you know, via email, if it fails to arrive when expected.

What if something goes wrong with the test or it’s delayed?

It is very unusual for a test to be rejected while in our laboratory.

If the sample has been correctly collected and packaged as instructed, we expect it to arrive safely with us the next working day. Please remember to post as soon as possible after taking the swab sample. The sooner it’s posted, the sooner it arrives at our laboratory.

In the unlikely event your sample doesn’t arrive, arrives damaged or is unusable for some reason, we will let you know via email.

How can I contact you if I need to?

It is very unusual for a test to be rejected while in our laboratory.

If the sample has been correctly collected and packaged as instructed, we expect it to arrive safely with us the next working day. Please remember to post as soon as possible after taking the swab sample. The sooner it’s posted, the sooner it arrives at our laboratory.

In the unlikely event your sample doesn’t arrive, arrives damaged or is unusable for some reason, we will let you know via email.

If my test is negative, what proof do you provide?

We give you an electronic certificate (as a PDF document), sent to you direct from our laboratory. This PDF will be sent to you via email and will also be available on your account page on our website. The certificate states who you are, your test result, the date your test was taken.

We are recognised by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) and approved by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) as a private provider for general COVID testing, Test to Release and Test to Travel examinations.

Although there is no internationally recognised standard format for the certificate we know that it contains all the information required to prove your test result to those government agencies or airlines that may need it.

Is it accepted at overseas border controls?

There is no internationally recognised certificate for proof of a negative COVID-19 test. We have found it to contain all the information required to prove your test result to those that may require it.

Our certificate is provided by our own, Department of Health and Social Care approved and UKAS recognised, laboratory and has all the information that identifies you, your test result, and the date of your test.

If I want to travel, what information do you need from me?

When you order your test kit you will need to provide information that can correctly identify you. For example, your passport number, your address and contact details. If you order a Test to Travel test you will need to let us know when and where you are flying to and the reason for travel. Our booking form contains all the information required by government agencies and airlines, please make sure you complete all the information carefully and completely.

Is my payment secure?

Payment is made through STRIPE, the internet payment platform. This platform is used the world over and meets the highest certification standards to keep payments safe. We do not store your bank details.

How do I know you’re the right people to carry out the test?

Our state-of-the-art laboratory has been established by experts in the field of genetic testing using the most advanced analytical equipment available.

We use a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test to detect even very small quantities of coronavirus.

Our reagents are continually checked against all known COVID variants, including all those you may have heard about.

We know that in these uncertain times the need for speed and accuracy of testing is vital for your continued safety and that of your friends and family.

That’s why we’re here.

What accreditation do you have?

We are registered with UKAS for accreditation to ISO 15189, the international quality standard set by the International Standards Organisation and which governs laboratory quality globally.

In addition, we have are registered by the UK Department of Health and Social Care as a private provider for General COVID testing, Test to Release and Test to Travel.

Are you part of the government testing system?

No. We are an independent laboratory service established to bring the highest quality COVID-19 testing to those that need it, quickly and reliably.

Are you scientists, or ‘middlemen’?

We are scientists devoted to using our expertise to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to those that need it.

We don’t use third parties.

You apply for a test kit from us, you send it to us, and we send your results back to you direct from our laboratory as soon as your test is complete.

Unlike many operators there are no ‘middlemen’ to delay the testing process or charge you extra for the privilege.

Why go to someone that may delay the process when you can go direct to the laboratory that will conduct your test.

I’ve heard of COVID variants. What are they, and do you test for them?

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can mutate as it spreads through a population. This is the same as all other viruses. As a result, it may change some of its characteristics over time making it more difficult to detect. Several different variants may be circulating at any one time.

You may have heard the terms, ‘UK variant’, ‘South African variant’, or ‘Brazilian variant’. These are the names given to new variants based on where they were first discovered.

The good news is that our reagents are checked against the international virus databases daily to make sure they can detect all known variants of the SARS-CoV-2 “COVID-19” coronavirus.

Test To Go App FAQs

Will downloading the Android app from your website harm my phone/is it dangerous?

No, the APK file is exactly the same file that exists on the Google Play Store and it is a format that Google itself developed. We simply host that file on our website. Your phone, as it does with many downloads, will simply check with you that you are happy with the source of the download. We keep the APK file up to date with any new releases of the app.

My phone is asking me if I should enable the “Install from unknown sources” option. Should I do this?

Yes, this is your phone’s way of checking with you before you download any external files. The file you download is the Android app, and contains nothing else, and nothing that is harmful to your device. It is simply coming from our website instead of coming from the Google Play Store.

The app will not accept my username or password

With this issue, it is most often the case that the user hasn’t actually signed up for the app yet. This is a formal step required BEFORE the app will accept your username and password and let you log in.

Once you click “Let’s start”, the next screen gives two options: the first is to “Sign up now” and the second is to “Sign in”.

If you have not used the app before, you MUST “Sign up now” first.

To do this you will enter your email address, and then click “send verification code”.

You will receive a verification code at that email address (Please check junk/spam folders for this email).

You then copy and paste that code from your email, and enter it in the app, and then it will prompt you to create a password. Once you’ve done that you be able to log into the app. You will then also be able to reset your password also.

If you have not signed up as above, then you will not be able to sign into the app. You cannot just input a username and password if you have not signed up properly.

The app won’t let me reset my password using the “forgot your password” button

This is most likely because you have not yet signed up to the app (please follow sign up instructions above). Once you have signed up, you can then successfully reset your password if you have forgotten it.

I can’t find my email certificate

Please check your junk or spam folders as sometimes the email certificate ends up there. Gmail for example sometimes splits the inbox into sub-folders so it’s worth checking all of your email folders.

I can’t find my verification code email

Please check your junk or spam folders as sometimes the verification email ends up there.

My verification code is not accepted

The verification code has a 5-minute timeout once it has been sent. This is for security reasons. If 5 minutes has elapsed, then the verification code won’t work. Please press RESEND a verification code and check your inbox/junk/spam folders.

The app is telling me my result is positive when I can see it is negative

In very rare circumstances, scanning the test cassette upside down with the app can cause a false positive. If you think this might have happened, please contact app.enquiries@excaliburhealth.co.uk

In other cases, your result likely will actually be positive. Our app can see the result with an accuracy 1.6 to 3 times greater than the average human eye. We have also found that sometimes people mistake a faint, or even very faint ‘T’ line, for a negative result, as it doesn’t look exactly like the ‘C’ line. A faint ‘T’ line is still a positive result. If you would like to raise an issue against your result, please send a clear image of the test cassette to app.enquiries@excaliburhealth.co.uk and our clinical team who are well-trained in interpreting lateral flow tests will review the result.

The app has informed me that my result is “inconclusive”, what should I do?

In this instance, the app is typically not satisfied with the image taken, and it will prompt you to retake the image with the app. Take another photo and “Submit photo” again.

The app has informed me that the result is “invalid”, what should I do?

There are two main instances that can cause an invalid result. Firstly, if you have not allowed the test to develop for a full 15 minutes, and scan the result too early, this can cause an invalid result. Secondly, if that cassette has been scanned before, then rescanning will generate an “invalid” response.

Once a test cassette has been scanned by the app and a positive or negative result has been sent to you will not be able to scan that test again.

You can only rescan after getting a result saying “inconclusive”. This is for security and fraud-prevention reasons. If you have scanned your test by mistake, or too early, please send a clear image to app.enquiries@excaliburhealth.co.uk and our clinical team who are well-trained in interpreting lateral flow tests will review the result.

I am travelling with my children who are under 12 and unable to download the app. How can I register their tests on my app?

There is a “Profiles” button on the home screen of the app where you can add dependent profiles to YOUR app. When you then come to scan a new test with the app via the “Log new test” button, you must then select which additional profile you want to register that test against. All email certificates for additional profiles on your app will be sent to the email address used to register in the app, but with the specific dependent’s name. As always, please check spam/junk folders.

My name (or any other personal detail) is wrong in the app/on my certificate, what can I do?

If you have noticed that your details are incorrect on the app, please raise a ticket here: https://support.testtogoapp.com/support/home and the team will respond to you as soon as they can.

If you have already performed the test and have noticed incorrect details on your email certificate, please email app.enquiries@excaliburhealth.co.uk and we will endeavour to amend your certificate as soon as we can.

What if I want to practice with the app before taking my test?

Whilst the scanning functionality has been designed to be simple and intuitive, it can be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the process. N.B. Do NOT use the fresh test to practice scan with the app. This will void that test and you will not be able to scan the result with the app. It is best to open up the ‘scan test’ functionality away from the test itself, or before you have taken it out of the packet.

When should I scan the test with the app?

You must wait a full 15 minutes (whether you use the in-app timer or another means of timing) before you scan the result. The test needs 15 minutes to fully develop and scanning the image with the app too early can result in a ‘void’ result or even a false positive.

Your test is in safe hands