Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

How secure is the BioSmart website?

It is impossible for any website to guarantee 100% security, however, we apply all the necessary measures to ensure data is securely collected and stored.

Do I need a referral to purchase a test on BioSmart?

No medical referral is necessary.

Are BioSmart tests covered by medical aid?

Yes, tests are covered by medical aid providers. Check with your provider if you are eligible.

What type of samples are required for testing?

The sample we require will depend on the specific test and the patient’s biological characteristics.

We have the following kits for sample collection:

– Cervical Brush Kit: Cervical Cells
– Mouth Swab Kit: Buccal Sample
– Finger-prick Kit: Blood Sample
– Vaginal Swab Kit: Vaginal Discharge
– Urine Collection Kit: Urine Sample
– Saliva Swab Kit: Saliva Sample
– Heel-prick Kit: Blood Sample

How long will it take for my sample collection kit to arrive?

It will take approximately 1 – 2 working days for your sample collection kit to be delivered. We use RAM’s Next Day delivery service.

An email will be sent from the courier company to the email address you provided with a link to the courier’s track and trace system, allowing you to track your shipment.

How should samples be returned?

It is important to follow the instructions on the sample kit insert closely because samples that are not packaged correctly will be rejected by the laboratory without refund.

 

First place the sample in the BioSmart box. Then place the box in the biohazard bag as instructed (only samples from ONE patient is allowed per biohazard bag, except for the Paternity Test). Remember to include the desiccant if one is provided (a packet filled with material that prevents condensation by absorbing and holding moisture).

 

Finally, the form on the sampling instructions sheet MUST be completed (INCLUDING THE BARCODE) and placed inside the return envelope pouch.

How do the samples reach the laboratory?

Deliveries to the laboratory from all over the country are handled by RAM Couriers.

Why are some samples rejected?

Samples are rejected when they are not collected as instructed and cannot be processed.

How accurate are the test results?

We strive to consistently deliver the most accurate test results possible.

 

The tests are performed in the laboratory under ISO 15189 guidelines. All tests are fully validated and are SAHPRA approved. Our laboratory staff are all fully trained and HPCSA registered. All results are overseen by our Pathologist.

Which sex should I choose if I am transgender, transexual or intersex?

We use sex (biological characteristics) to determine which sample kit to send. So, for the purposes of ordering tests, you will need to select your sex based on what genitals you have. If you were born with both sets of genitals, please get in touch before ordering so we can advise on the most suitable test for you.

What is the turnaround time for results?

Turnaround time for results will depend on the test taken, delivery times and analysis process. Results may take between 24 and 72 hours to reach you via email from the date we receive your sample(s). Paternity testing is a more complex process and so results can be expected 5 working days from the date we receive your samples.

Who will be able to see my test results?

Your test results will only be seen by our highly trained, professional pathologists and the necessary trusted employees assisting with processing – all of whom have signed a data protection agreement. We will never share your results with anyone else without your permission.

What is your policy regarding the protection of personal information?

We are fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act. For more information, please contact us.

What if I need advice regarding my results?

We are linked to doctors who can offer you telephonic consultations and scripts for any necessary medications – which can be discreetly delivered to your chosen address.

Alternatively, you can always consult your doctor for guidance.

What if I have a complaint?

Please contact us. We will do our best to resolve the issue.

Covid-19 Tests

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 (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) Covid-19 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 should we get tested?

In order to prevent the spread of the virus, 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. Those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease are especially at risk.

 

Testing identifies both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers so they can self-isolate, minimising the risk of transmission. This is one of the most effective ways of protecting everyone.

I was exposed to someone who tested positive. When should I test myself?

Please consult your doctor.

You can also view the latest Covid-19 quarantine, isolation and contact tracing regulations for South Africa here.

Why anterior nasal swabs?

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

Can I travel with a BioSmart Covid-19 RT-PCR test?

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

What if I need advice regarding my Covid-19 results?

You are welcome to email pathologist@biosmart.com with your questions. Alternatively, you can always consult your doctor for guidance.

For general Covid-19 related queries, please click here to go to South Africa’s Covid-19 resource website.

How accurate are Covid-19 test results?

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

What is the difference between the antibody test and 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 and specificity of the Covid-19 RT-PCR test?

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


Sensitivity (clinical) on low viral load: 94.1%
Sensitivity (clinical) on high viral load: 100%
Specificity (analytical): 100%

What is the turnaround time for Covid-19 results?

RT-PCR test results will be delivered to you via email the day after your sample is collected. For faster results, at an additional fee, contact us by email: info@biosmart.com

Are the RT-PCR tests covered by medical aid?

We are a registered pathology laboratory with the following practice number: 1098772.

We can provide you with a detailed invoice that can be submitted to your medical aid provider.

STI Tests

Which STIs can/does BioSmart test for?
BioSmart can test for the following sexually transmitted infections:
  • Treponema Pallidum (Syphilis) – Past and Current Infection, 2 Different Tests
  • Neisseria Gonorrhoeae (NG) – Current Infection
  • Chlamydia Trachomatis (CT) – Current Infection
  • Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV) – Current Infection
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – Current Infection
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1)  – Current Infection
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) – Current Infection
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – Past and Current Infection
  • Hepatitis C (HCV)– Past and Current Infection
Can I take an STI test during my menstrual cycle?

Yes, you can. However, results are likely to be more accurate if you wait until your cycle has ended.

What happens if I test positive for an STI?

If you tested positive for an STI, talk to a medical professional about the best course of treatment.

How accurate and/or reliable are STI test results?

Our laboratory adheres to the strictest protocols and quality standards to ensure results are as accurate as possible.

However, no STI test is 100% accurate and some STIs do not show up in tests immediately. Incubation periods:

  • Neisseria Gonorrhoeae (NG): 5 – 14 days
  • Chlamydia Trachomatis (CT): 7 – 21 days
  • Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV): 5 – 28 days
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): 2 – 4 weeks
  • Treponema Pallidum (Syphilis): 3 – 6 Weeks
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1): 4 – 6 Weeks
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2)  : 4 – 6 Weeks
  • Hepatitis B (HBV): 8 – 22 Weeks
  • Hepatitis C (HCV): 2 – 26 Weeks

Retesting for certain STIs is recommended.

Test results that show possible infection require further testing.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

How are STI test results received?

Via email in PDF format.

How do sample kit deliveries work?

We use RAM Couriers for deliveries within South Africa.

Is BioSmart’s packaging discreet?

Yes. The name of the test ordered will not appear on the packaging.

What if I only want to test for one STI?

Our STI Basic 3 tests – which entail self-sampling at home – enable us to screen for Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV), Chlamydia Trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria Gonorrhoeae (NG) at our accredited pathology laboratory.

It is possible to contract more than one STI at the same time, so testing for multiple infections is beneficial and often recommended. If you still want to only test for a specific STI, please talk to a medical professional for guidance.

When is it better to speak to / see a healthcare professional first?

We recommend that you first speak to / see a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you:

  • Have any symptoms
  • Are under the age of 18
  • Have been sexually assaulted
  • Are a woman and think you may be pregnant
  • Are a woman who has had unprotected sex in the last five days
  • Are a man who has had unprotected sex with another man or woman in the last three days
Can I be removed from your database?

If you would like to be removed from our database, please send an email to info@biosmart.com instructing us to erase your personal information. Please wait until your order and test results have been finalised and delivered to enable successful service delivery.

My sample kit has not arrived yet. What now?

If you have not received your sample kit within 1 to 3 working days, please send an email to info@biosmart.com with your full name and order number.

If my STI results come back positive, should I let my partner and previous partners know?

Yes. You should inform your partner(s) as well as anyone else you had sex with in the last 6 months. If they have an STI, or have contracted an STI from you, they could be passing it on to others. We understand that this may be extremely difficult, but if the roles were reversed, we assume you would like to know in order to start treatment ASAP. It could save someone’s life.

Healthy Cervix Test (HPV Screening)

What is the BioSmart Healthy Cervix test?

This sample kit contains a device called the Evalyn® Brush* which is imported from the Netherlands. It enables you to retrieve a sample from the surface of your cervix, by yourself at home, for a human papillomavirus (HPV) / cervical cancer screening in our laboratory.

 

Some high-risk strains of HPV can cause genital warts and are responsible for 99% of cervical cancer cases. But cervical cancer caused by HPV is totally preventable if it is detected early through regular screening.

Can I take the test during my menstrual cycle?

No. We recommend collecting a sample when you are not menstruating.

What happens if I test positive?

Historically smear tests, performed by general practitioners, were assessed in a laboratory for abnormalities in the cells of the cervix (cytology).

Advances in molecular testing technologies have changed the approach to pap smears which are first tested for the presence of those types of human papillomavirus that are associated with a high risk of developing cervical cancer.

Cytology tests should be performed on the smear if the HPV test is positive. Therefore, if you test positive for any of the high-risk HPV screens, you should seek professional help for further investigation.

How accurate and/or reliable are the test results?

Our laboratory adheres to the strictest protocols and quality standards to ensure results are as accurate as possible.

 

Test Sensitivity and Specificity

 

The clinical sensitivity of the HPV-test Sacace towards HC2 was 100.0% (70/70×100%) and its clinical sensitivity towards CIN2 + histological diagnosis was 98.6% (73/74×100%). Clinical sensitivity of HC2 towards CIN2 + histological diagnosis was 94.6% (70/74×100%).

 

Clinical specificity of HPV-test Sacace towards HC2 was 98.2% (701/715×100%) and its clinical specificity in screening in relation to a cytological diagnosis <CIN2 was 87.5% (712/814×100% ). Clinical specificity of HC2 towards cytological diagnosis <CIN2 was 87.7% (714/814×100%).

How frequently should I do an HPV screening?

According to South African guidelines for HPV screening, all women should start undergoing HPV screening from the age of 25, with repeat screenings every 5 years (or 3 years if they are HIV-positive).

What should I avoid before using my Cervical Brush Kit for HPV screening?

For at least two days before using the brush, do not use any other vaginal products.

Paternity Tests

What is in the sample kit?

Clear sampling instructions, four packets with swabs inside sample tubes (two for the alleged father and two for the child), one biohazard return bag and one large envelope.

What results can I expect to see?

A man is most likely the biological father if the test reveals a probability of paternity of 99.9%. If a man is not the father, the test will reveal a probability of 0%.

Where and how are samples analysed?

Samples are analysed at our accredited laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and systems.

How long do results take?

It depends on the test.

While they provide the same accurate results, the sample collection for legal paternity testing is done by an HPCSA registered professional.