Millions of people are contemplating whether or not they have corona-virus and if they do what if they have already recovered from coronavirus and have been uselessly locked away. Current developments for a test suggest answering just this question. The new test claims to find antibodies that are responsible for fighting against the COVID-19 virus in the bloodstream.
The developers of the test base them on the belief that if a person has sufficient antibodies, your body will have developed a strong enough immune system to prevent you from contracting the virus again.
This test doesn’t claim to tell if you already have the virus but instead, it is a test that can help tell whether or not you have recovered from it after having caught it previously.
This test could possibly help in rounding up the actual number of people who have been infected and been completely missed by statistics because only those who were gravely ill and hospitalized were tested and recorded.
A new antibody test supported by Public Health England hopes to answer concerns of the Health officials, the test developed by Swiss Firm Roche attest to the flawless accuracy of the test. Manufacturers are currently sitting down with NHS providers to consider dispensing it throughout the country.
The accuracy of such a test, however, does not come without suspicion, considering the failure of previous similar attempts to distribute such tests; it is no surprise scientists are guarded about their optimism for another such misfire. Studies have found that the tests are unable to indicate whether they found antibodies were produced in response to COVID-19 or to the common cold.
There were also official announcements for finger-prick tests similar to pregnancy tests ready to be sent to millions until they were proved to be giving imprecise results.
As the idea emerged, plenty of private companies have started to produce tests that are easy to use by the general public by themselves. The most powerful employers of the country have begun to buy these devices in large quantities to get their employees back to work.
The question still persists, do these kits even work?
In short, among the small number of antibody tests is the lateral flow immunoassay (LFI) these were the failed tests the Government had counted on using. It takes very little time to take these tests.
In the ten days after the symptoms are first noticed, the individual is expected to take the test so that enough time is set aside for the formation of antibodies.
The procedure of the kit includes pricking your finger and placing the drawn blood on the blotting paper.
The blotting paper contains antigens. Antibodies target these antigens because the immune system needs it to fight any threat to the body. If the presence of antibodies is discovered in the blood, a chemical causes a blue line to appear that indicates the test came out positive. This entire process is seen to take ten minutes.
The new test under the wing of Public Health England also is met by the same doubts; little research is made public regarding the legitimacy of the claims made on the accuracy of the test.
Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University warns about the impossibility of verifying whether a test is accurate without first seeing its study methods.
Dr. Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London explains there’s more to understanding immunity acquired against Covid-19, and antibodies are only a part of a larger picture they have yet to understand.
Furthermore, Dr. Ward says it is still important for people to be tested for antibodies as it can provide important data about whether people recovered from coronavirus, knowing that might greatly reduce the mortality rate.