While many wait for news of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, a Rochester company says it has created something that can help figure out if you can fight the virus off on your own.
Imanis Life Sciences in Rochester has developed a new COVID-19 antibody test called IMMUNO-COV.
“This is a test that specifically looks for antibodies that are able to neutralize the SARS coronavirus 2 which is the virus that causes COVID,” Imanis Principal Scientist, Rianna Vandergaast said.
Imanis Life Sciences has been working on this test for months after releasing the first version at the beginning of the pandemic.
“It really gives you a better idea of what kind of level of protection you’re going to have against future infection,” Vandergaast said.
It is done through a blood test and Vandergaast says they look at something called the “Titer.”
“The titer is going to be how much of these neutralizing or protective antibodies do you have in a certain amount or volume,” Vandergaast said.
The science may seem complicated, but what it does is tells you if you have antibodies in your blood to protect you from COVID-19, If you do have the antibodies, this test will also tell you how many you have, which can determine how protected you may be.
“The higher your titer the more of these neutralizing antibodies you have and the better you are going to be protected from future infection,” said Vandergaaast. She says these antibody levels can drop quickly, and with news of a vaccine arriving at any moment in the U.S., Vandergaast says these tests can benefit us.
“Having a test like this where you can monitor and see is this something where I am still potentially susceptible to infection or not is going to be very important even as we start to get vaccines and have more of that herd immunity,” Vandergaast said.
She says tests like this will work hand-in-hand with the vaccine as scientists and researchers work to learn more about COVID-19 and stop it from spreading.
“I do think developing these kinds of neutralizing antibody tests and running them is just a critical part in understanding how efficient these vaccines are going to work, especially in the long term,” Vandergaast said.
Imanis says it has created enough material for 5 million tests. The tests became available to the public on December 3rd. They can only be ordered by a physician, and the cost is $300. To learn more about the IMMUNO-COV test click here.
Published December 9, 2020: https://www.kaaltv.com/coronavirus/rochester-mn-imanis-life-sciences-antibody-test/5946401/
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