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Scientists Search for COVID-19 Immunity Tests


Scientists are on the search to establish a test to measure COVID-19 immunity within the body. They hope to figure out how human systems respond after a booster shot or a becoming infected with Omicron. Thus allowing them to establish a baseline to how many antibodies are needed to ensure an individual will be safe from infection.

Millions of Americans, including those who are immunocompromised, have been pondering the effectiveness of the vaccines and booster shots. COVID-19 cases have recently begun to decrease causing mask mandates and restrictions to dissipate.

Courtesy of Rusty Clark (Flickr CC0)

Immunity antibodies can be visible within four weeks of the contraction of the virus. Researchers are trying to figure out ways to determine the strength and duration of the immune response to COVID.

On May 10, 2021, the World Health Organization released a scientific brief that stated, “Some variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses with key changes in the spike protein have a reduced susceptibility to neutralization by antibodies in the blood. While neutralizing antibodies mainly target the spike protein, cellular immunity elicited by natural infection also target other viral proteins, which tend to be more conserved across variants than the spike protein. The ability [to emerge] virus variants (variants of interest and variants of concern) to evade immune responses is under investigation by researchers around the world.”

The immune response following infection with COVID can be measured by tests detecting virus-specific antibodies such as IgA, IgM, IgG, or total antibodies through immunoassays. COVID antibodies are also detected by the sensitized memory B cells and/or CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, which require more complicated assays, according to the WHO’s scientific brief.

Current COVID antibody tests can measure the levels within the body. Now scientists are trying to figure out a way to establish the effectiveness of these antibodies. There is no agreed-upon way to accurately calculate how any given COVID antibody level protects a person. This means it is difficult to judge what level protects an individual from infection or severe disease.

Scientists are hopeful they will soon be able to answer this question for people.

Written by Sheena Robertson


WHO: COVID-19 natural immunity
CNN: How protected are we against Covid-19? Scientists search for a test to measure immunity; by Tasnim Ahmed
WHO: “Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-19

Top And Featured Courtesy of Wheeler Cowperthwaite’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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