Serological Testing: Is There an Antibody Test for COVID-19?
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In response to
the pandemic of COVID-19, serological testing may be the key to fully closing the door, which can accurately show who is infected with COVID-19 and who can Return to work safely. French Minister of Health Olivier Veran said that everyone in the world is waiting for the serological test results. Scientists all over the world are now focusing on improving the test methods. Serological tests can detect antibodies against viruses in the blood of patients, which is a signal of the body's immunity.
Mass production of this test method may begin within a few weeks, the World Health Organization said that researchers are now developing serological testing techniques for
COVID-19, but have not yet been properly evaluated.
What Is an Antibody Test?
You may hear it called a serology test. It looks for certain things called antibodies in your blood. Your body makes these when it fights an infection, like
COVID-19. The same thing happens when you get a vaccine, like a flu shot. That's how you develop immunity to a virus.
The antibody test isn’t checking for the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system-your body ’s defense against illness-has responded to the infection.
The well-known diagnostic test called RT-PCR is an invasive test method, which can determine whether a person is infected by
SARS-CoV-2 through genetic analysis, and the hematological test only requires Virus antibodies can be found in the patient's blood, and the presence of antibodies will indicate whether a person has been infected with the virus or is already in an autoimmune state.
Andrew Preston, a researcher at the University of Bath in France, said that antibodies are a key component of the body's immune response, which will be detected about a week after the initial infection. There are two types of antibodies that directly react with COVID-19 Related, namely IgM and IgG, IgM is the antibody produced by the body in the early stage of the viral response (prompt early infection), and IgG is an antibody produced by individuals in the middle and late stages of infection.
The detection method currently being developed by researchers can recognize IgM and IgG antibodies, which is also a key indicator of patients' resistance to the virus's own immune response. Therefore, researchers are very interested in using antibody detection methods to prompt the body's immune status against virus infection.
Antibody testing is very important, because a large proportion of people with
COVID-19 infection may not have symptoms, but it is still infectious. At present, this detection method has been applied to the detection of other diseases, and once targeted for SARS-CoV- 2 The testing method is improved, and the researchers can use the existing software to analyze the results in the laboratory; once this serological testing technology is widely used, it can be used to determine which populations can be re-tested Return to work and lift the blockade currently being experienced by billions of people worldwide.
Francois Blanchecotte, chairman of the French Union of Biologists, said that the main problem is to ensure that everyone can return to their jobs; Luca Zaia, chairman of the Venice region of Italy, proposes that returning workers should carry a document after the test to prove It is indeed not contagious; at the same time, Germany has proposed some similar measures; the current global demand for such testing may greatly exceed the demand, and the output is still very limited.
Serological testing methods may not be the perfect solution. Virologist Michael Skinner of Imperial College London said that such testing methods must be used with caution. If used too early, patients in rehabilitation may still carry the virus or be released Virus, then it will bring a certain risk to other healthy people. Based on this risk, various countries may continue to produce and use RT-PCR testing, and combine the results with serological results to the patient ’s Judging the infection status; we may see two combined results, one of which is the body, which can analyze whether a person is still infectious, and the other is a serological test, which can analyze whether a person has antibodies in the body .
Another potential hidden danger is that at present, researchers cannot determine whether people recovering from COVID-19 infection will have a certain immunity to reinfection. In most infectious diseases, it is enough for a person to recover from the disease The evidence shows that a strong immune response has been generated in the body, and this will also allow the body to maintain immunity for a period of time to resist the invasion of the virus again. However, it should be noted that at present we cannot be sure that a positive antibody test result does mean that the individual has developed immunity.
At present, most countries in the blocked state still lack the corresponding detection capabilities, so even if they have extensive antibody detection capabilities, they do not know when they can lift the restrictions on people ’s daily behavior and actions; but serological testing is to determine human infection The only way to achieve a
COVID-19 ratio may be to help researchers understand the various unknown factors, especially mortality.
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