First Coronavirus blood test
FDA Authorizes Coronavirus Antibody Test
The first test for coronavirus that measures antibodies in the blood has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This test could be a key for knowing who is immune and for developing a vaccine because such tests could identify people who have recovered from COVID-19.
The FDA sent the Cellex Inc. of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, an emergency use authorization for its test. It measures antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 by drawing blood from a vein.
The chief of the clinical chemistry and toxicology laboratories at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Alan Wu said, “This test will be extremely valuable, for the healthcare workers especially. A person after being recovered from the infection, cannot be reinfected with the same virus, this is what antibody positivity likely means.” Several possible COVID-19 blood tests are being tested by his team.
Nasal swab tests that identify patients with active SARS-CoV-2 virus in their mucous membranes are different from the Cellex test and other blood-based tests. A patient having an active case of COVID-19 is shown from the nasal swab tests. Determining if a person had and has recovered from COVID-19 can be done by using blood tests. There are similar tests in various stages of readiness by more than 30 companies.
A professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, William Schaffner said, “We could start out by assigning healthcare workers who have the antibodies to coronavirus patients, still using protection. A much greater sense of security will be available for the health workers.”
Also for the production of the vaccine, such tests will be crucial. Antibody production in someone who has not been exposed to COVID-19 must be shown in order to prove a vaccine works. This can be done only by an antibody test.