How strong is your Covid immunity? Blood tests can give some idea

According to a new study, a newly developed blood test that measures a specific immune response in the body can help doctors determine how well a person is protected from Covid-19.

The test, which focuses on the part of the immune system that stimulates the body to “remember” the virus and provides long-term protection, helps to understand the complex conflict of Covid immunity from person to person today.

The test, for example, can measure someone’s immunity, regardless of their level of protection against one or more natural infections or vaccinations and vaccinations. Ernesto Guccone, an associate professor of oncology and pharmacology at dental cancer, said other people with low levels of immunity to weakened immune systems could also use it to assess their vulnerability and see how they respond to vaccines. Institute on Mount Sinai.

“Ideally, it gives you a complete picture of where you are and a complete picture of your immune defenses,” said Guccone, one of the authors of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Researchers say they will focus on further clinical trials to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

The test involves taking a small sample of blood from a clinic and mixing its proteins with fragments of the virus. The researchers then test the T cells in the sample for activation.

T cells are the basis of the immune system’s long-term memory and usually wait until they detect the presence of foreign invaders. Unlike the level of antibodies that drop after vaccination or infection, T cells can remember the virus years later, sometimes decades later.

Whether through vaccinations or infections, T cells are prepared to “take into account” fragments of the virus, including variants that escape protective antibodies. This means that T cells cannot stop the infection, but they do not prevent the patient from becoming seriously ill with Covid.

Previous studies have shown that T cells can recognize all known variants of anxiety, including omicron, but Guccione said it is an active research area. Researchers are continuing to improve the test and are examining how well T cells respond to different options.

“The information that has come out so far is very gratifying,” he said. “The good news is that we are developing immunity against several proteins of the virus, and most of them are not mutated by variants.”

Tests for the detection of T cells are mainly limited to laboratories for research purposes and this process is usually expensive and difficult to perform on a large scale, Guccione said. However, the new kit is designed for widespread use and results are usually delivered in less than 24 hours, he added.

More research is needed, but he says the accuracy of the results is similar to tests performed in research laboratories.

The test is currently able to detect T-cell activation, but researchers hope future versions will provide more detailed information, said Jordi Ochando, an oncology assistant and one at Icahn Medical School in Mount Sinai. of study authors.

“To look at the level of intensity of T-cell immunity and link it to protection – we have not yet reached that level,” he said. “But we hope it will happen someday.”

Future iterations, for example, can provide information about the extent and duration of human immunity against Covid.

Each test costs $ 50, but about a dozen companies licensed for the product may include an additional mark on the price, he said.

The test was developed by researchers at Mount Sinai and the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. It is commercially available in Europe as part of a licensing agreement with UK-based biotechnology company Hyris.

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