From Mayo Clinic to Johns Hopkins, there are many institutions and companies who introduced new Coronavirus test kit to reduce the burden caused by a shortage of these testing tools in the US. However, there Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first test for COVID-19 that measures antibodies in the blood.
It should be noted that these kinds of tests would help to identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 which is considered a key to find out who is immune and help the researchers in terms of developing a vaccine.
Unique Coronavirus test
Cellex Inc of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina received an emergency use authorization for its test Thursday, April 2 from FDA that includes the usage of blood drawn from a vein to measure antibodies to the Novel Coronavirus which causes COVID-19. It should be noted that countries like China, South Korea and Singapore are currently using antibody tests.
Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco said that antibody positivity likely means a person has recovered and the same person cannot be reinfected by the virus. The chief of the clinical chemistry and toxicology laboratories at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Wu said, "This test will be extremely valuable, especially for healthcare workers."
Blood-based Coronavirus tests
Cellex test and other blood-based tests are different from nasal swab tests, which is a test commonly used to diagnose bacterial infections in the throat, such as pneumonia, tonsillitis, whooping cough and meningitis. While swab tests show a patient has an active case of COVID-19, blood tests can determine someone had — and recovered from the deadly virus.
As reported by USA Today, William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee said "We could sort out who among the health care workers has antibodies and assign them to coronavirus patients. They'd still use protection, but would have a much greater sense of security."
Importance of antibody tests
These tests can identify people who had COVID-19 with no symptoms and as per the scientist, this group could be much larger than realized. Mark Slifka, a professor of viral immunology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon said, "There's some data out there that 15 percent to 16 percent of kids have had asymptomatic infections. They could be the secret spreaders. But without tests, we don't know."
Here it should be mentioned that China's National Health Commission has revealed that out of 181 cases, 115 people did not show Coronavirus symptoms like fever and cough. The tests were conducted in the 48 hours through midnight Thursday, April 2. On Friday, the agency stated that as of now it has recorded 1,027 asymptomatic individuals under medical observation, among them 221 people have travelled from other countries. However, the possibility of so-called pre-symptomatic transmission of Novel Coronavirus causes a challenging situation in terms of disease control.