A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), has developed a quick test kit that can tell if a person has immunity against COVID-19 and its variants, based on the antibodies detected in a blood sample.
Different from ART test kits – which look for the presence of viral proteins produced during a COVID-19 infection to determine if a person is infected – this rapid point-of-care test kit is a serology test that measures antibodies made by the patient.
It requires a drop of blood and takes just 10 minutes to show results, as compared to the 24 to 72 hours required for conventional laboratory testing. The findings were published in the scientific journal Microbiology Spectrum.
The test kit detects the levels of neutralising antibodies against SARS-COV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, and its variants such as Delta and Omicron, and can be easily adapted for new variants of concern and other diseases in the future.
It paves the way for personalised vaccination strategies, where people are only given vaccinations and booster shots when necessary, depending on their variance in antibody levels and immune response.
Corresponding author of the study, Professor Peter Preiser, Associate Vice President for Biomedical and Life Sciences at NTU Singapore said: “this will help allay some people’s fears that they will be ‘over-vaccinated with a booster’, since the results will inform them accurately if they are well-protected against COVID-19 or not”.