Can COVID-19 Immunity be detected in just 10 minutes?
Turns out, it can!
Researchers from the Antimicrobial Resistance Interdisciplinary Research Group at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and their institutional collaborators have developed a rapid point-of-care test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (NAbs).
“With the gradual opening up of borders, economies and society, having the right test, and information will be crucial to not only plan for this future but also ensure that it can be done safely without hampering current efforts to curb the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Megan McBee, scientific director at SMART AMR.
This simple test, only requiring a drop of blood from a fingertip, can be performed within 10 minutes without the need for a laboratory or specially trained personnel.
NAbs are generated by either exposure to the virus or a vaccine. For effective prevention of viral infections, NAbs must be generated in sufficient quantities.
The number of NAbs present in individuals indicate if they possess protective immunity to the virus and their probability of experiencing severe outcomes should they be infected.
NAb testing can determine whether vaccinated individuals should be considered for booster shots for additional protection against the virus. Currently, no similar NAb tests are commercially available within Singapore or elsewhere.
“Schools and workplaces will also benefit greatly from the test. Whether a person should be considered for receiving a booster vaccine can also be evaluated with this quick test as the results are available within minutes from a fingertip blood sample.
And if we are able to quickly determine immunity on a larger scale, the review and relaxing of COVID-related measures can be done in a more controlled, data-driven manner,” said Professor Hadley Sikes, principal investigator at SMART AMR, associate professor at MIT and a co-corresponding author of the paper.
The researchers are reportedly currently developing further advancements for the test.
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