He serological antibody test of covid-19 developed by researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) together with the Madrid hospitals of La Princesa and La Paz, and which has a reliability close to one hundred percent, is already on the market.
Patented by the CSIC and produced by the biotechnology company Immunostep, the test is based on a protein of the virus that had not been used in diagnosis and that can act as an antigen to reveal the immune response against SARS-CoV-2.
This test, exclusively for hospital use – it requires a laboratory – has a price of about 5 euros, excluding distribution costs.
The virus diagnostic tests are divided into two main types: those that make a direct or indirect detection.
While PCR tests detect the genetic material of the virus and antigen tests detect proteins on the surface of the virus (direct detection), antibody tests detect proteins generated by the immune system in response to coronavirus infection (indirect detection).
This result provides important information to know the amount of population that has passed the covid-19 and has been immunized.
He new test detects three types of antibodies and allows you to meet people who have been in contact with the coronavirus and have been immunized.
Therefore, it is a very useful tool to identify people who have developed immune protection against coronavirus, and to design an efficient vaccination strategy for the population, since it allows distinguishing which people have generated a response to the vaccine from those who have infected and respond to the full virus.
The test is presented in ELISA kit format with all reagents to reveal the presence of antibodies in the patient’s blood and gives results in about two hours.
“The main novelty of the test is that it is based on viral proteins that until now had not been studied for use in diagnosis,” explains Mar Valés, researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology of the CSIC (CNB-CSIC), who has co-led the research.
“We have found that protease, a protein that the virus makes during infection, can act as an antigen. Patients generate antibodies that can be detected in blood samples, “he adds.
The design to manufacture the protease has been led by researcher Hugh Reyburn, from the CNB-CSIC.
Once purified, this protein is used to capture antibodies against coronavirus It contains the serum (blood) of the individual who has passed the disease and has developed immunity.
The kit makes it possible to measure this reaction by a color change.
Researchers have conducted a trial, published in the Journal of Immunology, showing that this test, combined with the detection of other commonly used coronavirus antigens, allows the identification of all individuals who have developed immunity to the coronavirus.
“The test is extremely sensitive, and the combination of a new antigen with the immunoglobulins IgG and IgA allows to have the detection of antibodies practically from the onset of symptoms “, indicates Ricardo Jara, CEO of Immunostep.
“Given its high sensitivity, We believe that it will be a very powerful tool in this vaccination stage that we are starting now“, Add.
For Eduardo López, coordinator of the immunology department of the Hospital Universitario de La Paz, in Madrid, “this test allows a broader study of the immune response of antibodies against the virus”.
This offers a not only qualitative diagnosis (indicates the presence or absence of three types of antibodies) but also quantitative, that is, it allows knowing the concentration of these, which will contribute to providing a more complete picture of the impact of the coronavirus on the population and , in the coming months, to design a more efficient strategy for administering vaccines and monitoring their response.
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