Find more information on COVID-19 testing.

iPath online ordering for COVID-19 and Respiratory Testing at SA Pathology

SA Pathology’s web-based result delivery application iPath offers an electronic ordering capability for COVID-19 and 12-panel respiratory testing, if applicable. iPath is an easy and convenient method for ordering respiratory testing through SA Pathology and will assist clinicians and patients in obtaining a contact free pathology referral.

If you do not have an iPath account, please contact the SA Pathology Marketing team on 8222 3355 or email

Details regarding private pathology testing is available from the private pathology services.

Guidance for all people who develop new symptoms within 35 days since previous positive test

Reinfection is possible following recent and/or prior recovery from COVID-19 and the risk of reinfection is generally higher in people who are significantly immunocompromised.

To reduce the transmission of all respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, all people who develop new acute respiratory symptoms within 35 days since their previous positive test should have a COVID-19 test. This is irrespective of whether they have a known re-exposure or not. They should stay at home until their symptoms have resolved, irrespectively of their COVID-19 test result.

People who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease who develop new symptoms at any time after their COVID-19 acute symptoms have resolved should contact their health care provider for advice; testing for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be indicated.

Guidance for recovered cases more than 35 days since previous positive test

If more than 35 days have passed since their previous positive test, recovered cases should be:

  • tested for SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory pathogens, if they develop new respiratory symptoms and meet criteria for testing
  • managed as a case if they test positive for SARS-CoV-2
  • managed as a close contact if they meet the close contact definition.

SARS-CoV-2 Serological Testing

COVID -19 serological testing is available and Medicare rebateable without specific criteria, but careful consideration should be given to its use. SA Pathology SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays detect high-affinity antibodies (IgM, IgA, or IgG) to the spike protein (S) and nucleocapsid protein (N). Anti-S antibodies are detectable post-vaccination and post-natural infection while anti-N antibodies are only detectable post-infection.

Confirmed detection of only anti-S antibodies is consistent with immunisation with Pfizer, AstraZeneca or another S sub-unit vaccine. Presence of both anti-N and anti-S antibodies may reflect past infection or immunisation with an inactivated whole-virus vaccine (e.g. CoronaVax/Sinovax used in China, Indonesia and elsewhere).

After natural infection, serology cannot distinguish whether someone has or has not been vaccinated.

Anti-S Antibody

  • Post-Vaccination (in Australia)

Anti-N Antibody

  • Post-Natural infection (with or without vaccination)

Detectable SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies after Vaccination and Natural Infection

The sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 serology assays is dependent on timing post-onset of COVID symptoms, with poor sensitivity within 2 weeks of symptom onset. After 14 days post-onset of symptoms, sensitivity is high but may decrease over time.

Most importantly seropositivity does not indicate immunity to SARS-CoV-2

As detailed above, SARS-CoV-2 serology has low sensitivity in acute COVID-19 and is not recommended for the diagnosis of acute infection. PCR is the gold-standard test for diagnosis of acute COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2 serology testing may be used to confirm past infection within three months of an acute illness compatible with COVID-19 infection, e.g. in a patient where PCR testing was not performed at the time of acute illness. However, it should be noted that a negative antibody test does not exclude prior infection, especially if a long period of time has elapsed between acute infection and serology testing or in the elderly/immunocompromised.

Combination COVID-19 and influenza self-tests

TGA recently approved the first two nasal combination self-tests (for use at home) that detect both COVID-19 and influenza viral infections in humans. For additional information on combination rapid antigen self-tests including the Instructions for Use go to: