Many tests have been formulated for identifying the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that is responsible for causing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these tests mostly allow the virus to be detected only during an acute infection.
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As such, there is an urgent need for serological, or antibody, tests to establish the true rate of infection, to figure out the antibody responses of each individual to the virus, and to find people who are possibly immune to re-infection.
A similar test has now been developed by researchers, as reported in a study published in the Current Protocols in Microbiology journal.
This published article offers a step-by-step procedure with sufficient detail for other scientists to reproduce in their laboratory settings.
In this procedure, segments of a major SARS-CoV-2 protein are expressed and purified. They are subsequently utilized in blood tests to detect the presence of antiviral antibodies.
Serological assays can be used to identify individuals who were infected (including severe, mild, and asymptomatic cases) and who are now potentially immune, which means that they are unlikely to transmit the virus to others. As an example, healthcare workers who are immune could potentially care for COVID19 patients with minimal risk to themselves, their colleagues, and other patients.”
Stadlbauer, D., et al. (2020) SARS-CoV-2 Seroconversion in Humans: A Detailed Protocol for a Serological Assay, Antigen Production, and Test Setup. Current Protocols in Microbiology. doi.org/10.1002/cpmc.100.