An antibody test, which determines how probable you are to get coronavirus twice, is being developed by scientists are the University of Edinburgh, with a potential to be available before a possible second wave of the coronavirus. Furthermore, the test will also be able to inform patients if they have previously had the virus, as well as how their body responded to the virus and how severely they might get the virus in the future.
With this data, the researchers are anticipating it could help the NHS plan for the future.
The research has already started at Edinburgh University’s Foundry lab, where they have assistance from three robots to work around the clock in a rush to get the tests available within the next twelve weeks.
Yanick Crow, Professor of Genomic Medicine, stated: “It is quite possible an individual exposed to the same virus can respond differently in terms of their immune response. Different types of antibodies will have different effects on the virus. People have been talking about these immune passports, where we would be able to say a person has had the disease already and produced a good response to the virus and that they are no longer at risk, despite the fact that they might come in to contact with the virus. This test could help with identifying those people and whether or not they have developed an adequate enough immune response.”
Susan Rosser, Professor of synthetic biology, stated: “It can do experiments really quickly, it can do them really accurately, far more accurate than a human can do them, and it can work twenty-four-seven. So we can have science going on in this lab all day and all night and there is no need for people to be in here. Instead of it taking six months to put together, we can do it in a month.”
Nick Gilbert, Professor of molecular biology, stated: “Most of the antibody tests just give you very simple yes/no answers and tell you whether you have had the virus before. What we are doing here is developing a more sophisticated antibody test which we can actually use prognostically. That means we can use the information to better tell patients how their bodies are going to actually respond to the coronavirus in future.”