Researchers Develop an Antibody Test for the Coronavirus

Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 00:30

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have developed an antibody test for the coronavirus.

According to the New York Post, researchers shared the directions online for how to make it so labs around the globe can duplicate it.

Based on the report, Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Mount Sinai school in Manhattan, told Science Magazine that labs could easily scale the test to “screen a few thousand people a day” for antibodies.

Though the study has been posted on the preprint server medRxiv, it’s too early to use with patients because it has not been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal, according to Live Science.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the trial, which will begin this week on a “compassionate care basis,” the governor has said.

Regular tests being used to diagnose infections look for COVID-19’s genes in samples taken from people’s noses and throats, which indicate that a person is actively infected, according to Live Science.

The other tests, meanwhile, look for antibodies that a person’s immune system develops to fight the virus.

The antibody tests can show what percentage of the population has ever been infected, even if the people aren’t currently infected — allowing researchers to calculate a more accurate fatality rate.

The tests also could be used to screen health care workers and identify those already immune to the disease, which would likely mean they could provide care without the risk of being infected, the authors said.

The researchers are already using the test at Mount Sinai Hospital to determine how quickly people develop antibodies to COVID-19, according to the report.

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