Most of the tests given to detect the coronavirus are usually RNA-based diagnostic tests, that is commonly used by specialists. This might not be enough to get the answers, blood tests to detect anti-bodies rallying against it might be better. If most of the population can be administered, the true scale of the coronavirus pandemic can be tracked.
Why anti-body tests are better
Aside from developing anti-pathogenic medicines, another front is the creation of anti-body based blood tests is crucial. Several have been approved, and some are in studies to test its efficacy, already used in some areas have shown that some populations are now developing immunity or not having at all. Scientists are optimistic a blood test will soon be for dispersal everywhere.
Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and his colleagues have come up with an antibody blood test they developed. Along with the kit are instructions to reproduce it, can be used by other labs to scale it up, to test several thousand per day, to get a look at how many are sick or at risk from the contagion.
Florian Krammer and team: Devising the anti-body test
Designing the test was done, making an altered version of the 'spike' protein on the COVID-19 outer cover. These proteins mask themselves so that the virus can enter the cell and destroy anti-bodies that can stop it, cells identify the pathogen and create anti-bodies to stop it permanently. Utilizing a short piece of a protein called receptor-binding domain (RBD), used by viruses to latch onto cells and attack the cell membrane. This will reproduce altered spike proteins and RBDs, to look for antibodies in patients.
All this custom biotech engineered molecules are used for an ELISA test, An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that detected antibodies in the blood. Changes are registered as color changes as the target protein is tested. Tests done on '3 COVID-19 patients and 59 serum' samples, had identified anti-bodies related to COVID-19.
Where did the blood sample originate?
The control group was from those aged 20 and 70, who had previous infections with other viruses. One type is a different coronavirus, NL63, which causes cold symptoms. With spike proteins as similar receptors on infected human cells, despite fears of a false-positive effect and cross-reaction, getting negative reactions from this anti-body test is good, added Krammer.
Encouraging results for these anti-body tests
When antibodies to NL63 does not react to COVID-19 is a good sign, dengue can be worse if the patient has encountered the virus and gained a semi-immunity. Current ant-bodies can have an overreaction like antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), that end up attacking the host cell and it can explain why the coronavirus is bad for the elderly that younger people.
Krammer added that the test is in use at New York City hospital, to learn how patients gain anti-bodies develop against the virus. Another use is to track people with an existing immunity to the coronavirus.
These individuals can work as a spearhead on the pandemic front line.
Development of ELISA as one of the tests to detect anti-bodies will have help researched have the true scale of who is affected or not by the coronavirus pandemic.
Related article: Coronavirus Can Survive in Air and Surfaces, Infecting Victims