A patient recovering from Covid-19 may have developed antibodies, but this does not really tell them how much immunity they have developed. Some antibodies might protect the body, some might not be so, while some antibodies might even cause harm to the body.
Scientists at the Ohio State University have developed a new lab testing procedure for the detection of antibodies, one that specifically identifies the “neutralising” antibodies that protect against infection of cells.
“With many assays currently in use, we can detect antibodies, but that doesn’t tell us if they’re neutralizing antibodies. We only know the level of antibodies someone has,” the Ohio State University’s Dr Shan-Lu Liu said in a statement.
Liu is the senior author of a research paper describing the new method in the journal JCI Insight. “Our assay examines whether antibodies are potentially protective, which means they prevent a patient from reinfection and block viral replication,” he said.
Tests with this new assay showed that, overall, ICU patients had produced the highest concentration of neutralising antibodies, and convalescent plasma donors and healthcare workers had the lowest antibody levels.
“So the more severe the disease, the higher the antibody levels produced. And what this tells us is there is a wide spectrum of different antibody levels after infection,” said Liu.
“… Our assay could be used to tell whether antibodies have been developed in individuals who have had contacts with SARS-CoV-2.”
Source: Ohio State University
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