New blood test could reveal if a person is immune to Covid-19

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • A newly-developed blood test could help indicate how much immunity a person has against Covid-19.
  • The test measures a specific immune response in the body.
  • Immunocompromised individuals could also use the test to assess their vulnerability 

A new study found that a newly-developed blood test can measure a specific immune response in the body that could help medical experts to assess how much immunity a person has against Covid-19.

The test, which was developed by researchers at Mount Sinai and the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, focuses on the part of the immune system that gives long-term protection by triggering the body to “remember” the virus.

The test can measure the body’s protection regardless of whether the individual has developed a level of protection from one or more natural infections or from vaccines and booster shots. Immunocompromised people could also use the test to gauge their vulnerability and see how they responded to the vaccines, said Ernesto Guccione, an associate professor of oncological sciences and pharmacological sciences at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai.

“Ideally, it will give you a full picture of where you stand and a comprehensive picture of your immune protection,” said Guccione, one of the authors of the study published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The researchers said the next step is to focus on clinical trials with the goal of gaining approval from both the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

The process involves getting a small blood sample and mixing it with “snippets” of proteins from the virus. The test then will determine if the so-called T cells are activated in the sample.

T cells are the foundation of the immune system’s long-term memory. They can detect the presence of foreign invaders. Antibody levels can diminish after vaccinations or infections, but T cells can remember a virus even several years later.

Detecting T cells are usually done in laboratories and the process is usually expensive and difficult to conduct on a large scale, Guccione said. The new kit is developed to be used widely, and results can typically be delivered in less than 24 hours, he added.

Though additional research is needed, Guccione said the accuracy of the results is comparable to similar tests run in research labs.

Jordi Ochando, an assistant professor of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and one of the study co-authors said the test costs roughly $50 to run, but it’s possible that companies that license the product could include a markup on the price.

As part of a licensing agreement with U.K.-based biotechnology company Hyris, the test is commercially available in Europe,

Source: Yahoo! News

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