Researchers at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have developed a sensitive and economical microarray technology that allows antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be quickly identified in blood or serum samples. The test can provide a result in as little as eight minutes, but researchers believe it can be further reduced to just four minutes with further development. Technology can be very helpful in confirming immunity to the virus, which will help us identify how long they confer immunity to vaccines and whether booster vaccines will be made.
With vaccination campaigns in full swing in many countries, fully vaccinated people can expect a summer with more freedom and a little less to worry about. However, we still do not know how long each vaccine will protect us against COVID-19 and it is important to monitor the immunity levels in the community to make sure we are protected. Tests that identify antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus are an important part of this effort.
There are several technologies available to achieve this, and it can currently take between ten minutes and 2.5 hours to provide a result. The latter technique is faster, lasting eight minutes, but researchers are confident they can finish with just four minutes with further development. Many of the pre-existing assays also suffer from sensitivity issues, may require numerous, time-consuming steps, and can only identify a single type of antibody, limiting the data they produce.
This latest assay, called the CoVRapid test, is low-cost and fully automated and can detect three different antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 simultaneously. The chemiluminescence microarray incorporates 100 measurement points on a chip. It also improves the sensitivity issues of some of its competitors, providing sufficient sensitivity to detect the concentration of antibodies in each sample.
“We have already developed rapid and reliable testing of antibiotics in milk and Legionella using this technology platform,” said Michael Seidel, a researcher involved in the study. “The system has already been demonstrated in practical use. Therefore, our ‘CoVRapid’ rapid test will be able to be deployed in clinics, medical offices and research laboratories in the very near future. “
“This research raises questions such as: How well do vaccines work? How long does immunity last? When will vaccines need to be re-administered? With its high sensitivity, our CoVRapid will help us find the answers to these questions, ”said Julia Klüpfel, another researcher involved in the study.
Study a Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry: Automatic immunoassay of flow-based chemiluminescence microarrays for rapid multiplex detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in human serum and plasma (CoVRapid CL-MIA)