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Cheap covid-19 antibody test shows if you have immunity in 5 minutes

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Illustration of antibody (cream) that reacts to coronavirus (orange) infection

JUAN GAERTNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

An inexpensive 5-minute test can accurately determine if you have been infected with covid-19 in the past, or if you are protected from the vaccine by detecting antibodies in your blood or saliva.

When a person becomes infected with the coronavirus or is vaccinated against the coronavirus, the immune system produces antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies At least 6 months, Therefore, it can be used to detect past infections or vaccine reactions. Coronavirus antibody test It already exists, but it tends to be expensive, complex, and inaccurate.

Feng Shui Swallow The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and his colleagues used organic electrochemical transistors to perform cheaper and more convenient covid-19 antibody tests. They convert biological signals into electrical signals and are becoming more popular for the detection of biomolecules such as proteins and glucose.

A drop of blood or saliva is placed on one of these transistors. It is made of gold and is embedded in a small plastic strip. When the coronavirus antibody binds to it, the transistor produces an electrical signal that is read by a lightweight portable meter connected to the mobile phone via Bluetooth. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes.

This test proved to be very accurate in measuring coronavirus antibodies when tested in the lab with samples of spiked blood and saliva at various antibody levels (including very low levels). rice field.

Yan and his colleagues are currently planning a clinical trial and have confirmed that the trial works in a real environment. If the trial is successful, the team will apply for approval to sell the test. This should cost less than $ 1 per test strip, says Yan.

Like other covid-19 antibody tests, the new test Immunity In different populations, the virus is transmitted either by natural infection or by vaccination, Yang said. It can also indicate when the protective effect of the vaccine is beginning to decline. Booster shot It may be necessary, he says.

However, you cannot use this test to determine if you are currently infected with covid-19. This is because it usually takes a week or two after infection to produce significant levels of antibodies.

Journal reference: Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abg8387

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Cheap covid-19 antibody test shows if you have immunity in 5 minutes

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