Frequently Asked Questions

Does BioSmart test for the virus that causes Covid-19?

Yes, testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 is performed in our state of the art laboratory using SAHPRA approved qPCR Covid Tests that detect two different SARS-CoV-2 genes: N1 and N2. There is also an internal control that detects the presence of human RNase P. A positive result means all three of these genes have been detected in the sample.


Why anterior nasal swabs?

Our aim is to make testing more accessible by non-invasive sampling. The sensitivity of anterior nasal swab samples have been extensively validated on our platform following protocols that have been given Emergency Use Access by the CDC (USA).

Anterior nasal swab:


Why should we get tested?

In order to prevent the spread of the virus mass testing is critical. Many people, especially children, can spread the virus without knowing they are infected. Unfortunately the virus can be deadly for some people including the elderly, and those with diabetes or cardio vascular disease are especially at risk.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is already responsible for over 1 million Covid-19 deaths globally.

Testing identifies both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of the SARS-COV-2 so they can self isolate, minimising the risk of transmission. This not only gives those who are free of the virus a greater sense of security when returning to work and everyday life but also is the most effective way of protecting everyone.


Can I travel with BioSmart COVID-19 RT-PCR test?

Results are sent in a PDF file and contain a verifiable QR code.


I was exposed to someone who tested positive - when should I test myself?

If you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 you should assume that you may have been infected. It will typically take 4-6 days for the virus in your system to be detectable, so isolate and arrange to be tested 6 days after you were exposed. Do not test too early because you could get a false negative result.


How do the samples reach the lab?

Samples must be packaged in the sample kit box which is then closed in the biohazard zip-lock bag as instructed. It is important to follow the instructions in the pack closely because samples that are not packaged correctly will be rejected by the lab without refund.

When you pay for your test via the mobile app you have the option to pay for delivery to the lab by ARAMEX who are licensed to transport biological samples. ARAMEX will transport samples from all over the country to the lab in Cape Town.

At designated collection points, samples will be consolidated for overnight delivery enabeling next day testing & results.


What if I need advice regarding my results?

Please email with your questions.

For general Covid-19 related quieries, please click here to go to South Africa's Covid-19 resource website


Our policy regarding the protection of your personal information?

We are fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act (or POPI Act) - which became a legal requirement in June 2020. For more information, please contact us.


What if I have a complaint?

If you have a complaint, please contact us and we will do our best to resolve the issue.


Sample acceptance or rejection?

Samples will be rejected if full payment for the test has not been received. On payment, you will receive a test TOKEN. It is critical that you include the TOKEN number and your details in the document sleeve of the biohazard bag.

Samples must be taken only as instructed. Samples must be placed inside the sample kit box which is then zip-locked inside the biohazard bag.

Remember to include the dessicant with the dry blood spot filter paper.

Only samples from ONE patient per biohazard bag.

Patient details MUST be included in the document sleeve of the biohazard bag.


What factors can influence the PCR test result?

Samples will be rejected if full payment for the test has not been received. On payment, you will receive a test TOKEN. It is critical that you include the TOKEN number and your details in the document sleeve of the biohazard bag.

The PCR test is run on saliva (NOT sputum). The difference between the two is big - sputum being thick and lumpy and is coughed up from your lungs.

It is important to follow the in-pack instructions when taking any samples.

For the saliva sample, rinse your mouth with water 30 min. before taking the sample. Do not eat or drink anything after rinsing your mouth.

Drinking tea, coffee or caffeinated drinks will prevent the enzymes in the PCR reaction from working, while drinking water will dilute the sample and may return a false negative result.


Are the tests accurate?

The RT-PCR test is the most accurate way of detecting the virus that causes Covid-19.

The tests are performed in the laboratory under ISO15189 guidelines. The chemistry used is SAHPRA approved and our Medical Technologist performing the tests is registered with the HPCSA. All in-house processes are fully validated, and results are overseen by our Pathologist:

Dr Temitayo Famoroti
MBBS, Dip HIV/AIDS, DTM&H, MPH, MMEd(Virology), FCPath (Virology)


What is the difference between an antibody test & the RT-PCR test?

The RT-PCR test will tell you if you are currently infected with the virus that causes Covid-19.

The antibody test will tell you if you have had Covid-19.


What is the sensitivity & specificity of the COVID-19 RT-PCR test?

The tests performed by the BioSmart lab are approved by SAHPRA.

Sensitivity (clinical) on low viral load: 94.1%

Sensitivity (clinical) on high viral load: 100%

Specificity (analytical): 100%



Are the RT-PCR tests covered by medical aid?

We are a registered pathology lab with the following practice number: 0935379.

We are not affiliated to any medical aid scheme, so please first check with your medical aid provider if they will re-imburse the cost of the test.