Scottish newsagent sells coronavirus antibody test kits for £30 each

A Scottish newsagent is selling coronavirus test kits for £30 each – and claims he has already sold £750,000 worth to a pharmacy. 

Nadeem Anwar says the antibody test, which can tell if someone has already had the killer infection, he sells is 92 per cent accurate. 

He has already bought 100,000 kits from China and is waiting for another 225,000 to arrive to sell at Patrick Superstore in Glasgow or to other pharmacies. 

Health regulators say they are illegal because there are no approved antibody tests for home-use. 

But Mr Anwar refused the claim and said he was ‘untouchable. He added: ‘I don’t understand how I can get these antibody kits but the NHS can’t.’ 

Number 10 is hoping to roll out antibody tests to allow Britons to use them at home. Scientists say the blood tests are crucial to easing Britain out of its lockdown.

But the tests trialed so far have produced poor results, and none have been deemed accurate enough for widespread use by officials.

Health chiefs have warned against using DIY at-home kits sold online or elsewhere because they can give false results.

A Scottish newsagent, who runs Patrick Superstore (pictured), is selling coronavirus test kits for £750 each – and he claims to have already sold 1,000 of them to a pharmacy chain 

Mr Anwar, who said he liked to be ‘ahead of the game’, bought his kits from Chinese pharma firm Yuno Diagnostics Co Ltd. It is unclear if they are among the tests being looked at by health officials.

He told the Daily Record: ‘I know a shopkeeper having these kits is weird but it’s business. I’m hardly making any money on these, the profit margin is small.’

Mr Anwar has shipped over 4,000 boxes from China, which each contain 25 tests. 

It means he has enough tests to screen 100,000 people which will soon increase by another 225,000 when his next set of 9,000 boxes arrives. 

He sells each box for £750 – £30 a test – but it is not clear how much he bought them for himself. 

It means the unnamed pharmacy he claims bought 1,000 boxes paid £750,000.  

The results using a finger prick of blood are produced within 15 minutes, and reveal if a carries antibodies against the virus.


An antibody test is one which tests whether someone’s immune system is already equipped to fight a specific disease or infection.

When someone gets infected with a virus their immune system must work out how to fight it off and produce substances called antibodies.

These are extremely specific and are uniquely able to tackle one strain of one virus. They are produced in a way which makes them able to latch onto that specific virus and destroy it.

For example, if someone catches COVID-19, they will develop COVID-19 antibodies for their body to use to fight it off.

The body then stores versions of these antibodies in the immune system so that if it comes into contact with that same virus again it will be able to fight it off straight away and probably avoid someone feeling any symptoms at all.

To test for these antibodies, medics or scientists can take a fluid sample from someone – usually blood – and mix it with part of the virus to see if there is a reaction between the two.

If there is a reaction, it means someone has the antibodies and their body knows how to fight off the infection – they are immune. If there is no reaction it means they have not had it yet.


Tests currently being used by Public Health England and the NHS are called PCR tests, or swab tests, and they test to see whether someone is currently infected with the virus.

They look for the presence of the coronavirus itself in someone’s bodily fluids. 

A PCR(polymerase chain reaction) test works by a sample of someone’s genetic material – their RNA – being taken to lab and worked up in a full map of their DNA at the time of the test.

This DNA can then be scanned to find evidence of the virus’s DNA, which will be embroiled with the patient’s own if they are infected at the time.

The PCR test is extremely accurate but it can take more than 24 hours for a result to be produced. 

Another type of test which looks for current infection is an antigen test. It is unclear whether authorities in the UK are using these. 

Antigens are parts of a virus that trigger the immune system’s response to fight the infection, and can show up in blood before antibodies are made. 

These tests work in a similar way to antibody tests – they rely on a reaction triggered by the presence of the virus to return a positive result – but they work at an earlier stage of infection. 

It can take weeks for antibodies to be developed, whereas antigens can be detected almost immediately after infection. 

Antigen tests are used to diagnose patients with flu, as well as malaria, strep A and HIV. 

Mr Anwar, who says each of his family have done the test, said: ‘I have certificates to prove that my tests are legitimate if anyone in authority comes in and challenges me.

‘The kits are CE and MHRA registered. I’m untouchable.’ 

A CE marking is a certification that indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). 

An MHRA spokeswoman confirmed there are CE-marked antibody tests available, but they are not safe for home use.

She added: ‘There are CE-marked antibody tests available but all are for professional use only and should not be purchased for individual or home use.

‘The MHRA has conducted ­regulatory checks on these CE-marked products but it is important to note that we do not confirm that these products have been reviewed for ­performance or validity.’

The MHRA’s website said it was aware of antibody tests being sold in shops, but that PHE do not advise buying them.

It states: ‘We can confirm that there are no CE-marked tests for home use, and it is illegal to supply such products.’ 

Mr Anwar expressed his concern that the Government had not rushed to buy an antibody test, and said maybe it’s because they ‘don’t trust the Chinese’.

‘It’s a shame. I’ve tested all my family and they all came back negative. Each test takes about 15 minutes to produce a result, it’s straightforward.’

Antibody testing kits are currently being assessed by the UK ­Government, but none have proven to be high enough standard yet.  

A test which is anything less than 100 per accurate could mean a group of patients get a false result.

In the case of Mr Anwar’s test, eight per cent of people get a false result, which could be dangerous for their own health.

If a person is wrongly told they have the antibodies against the virus, they would assume they had immunity and could mingle with others. This puts them at risk of catching the deadly coronavirus.

If the Government finds a successful antibody test, it could be a game-changer for the coronavirus outbreak.  

It would allow health officials to work out who is safe to leave their home, easing the lockdown which is crippling the economy.    

Oxford University’s Professor Sir John Bell, one of the scientists checking commercial antibody tests for their accuracy with PHE, said it would be at least a month before a usable one was found.

The UK government is understood to be assessing some 3.5million it ordered from various suppliers last month.

Antibody testing has started in Italy already with authorities in the provinces of Veneto and Emilia Romagna, where the epidemic started, carrying it out.

Tests had been trialled on up to 3,000 medical staff and will now be rolled out more widely, he said, with the aim of issuing ‘licences’ for people to return to work.

These would serve as a doctor’s note to certify someone was immune to the coronavirus and could not catch it and become ill themselves.

The Italians, however, are not certain the blood tests will work. It is not clear who has manufactured the tests.

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia admitted on April 6 ‘some say they will work, others say they won’t’.