An ELISA test for COVID-19 antibodies developed by scientists at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital can ascertain those who’ve been infected by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, survived the infection and likely acquired at least temporary immunity to the virus.
The new antibody test, a variation of the standard enzyme-linked immunosorbest assay (ELISA) test, was developed by PhD candidate Fatima Amanat and fellow scientists at the Krammer Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City in collaboration with researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland and University of Melbourne, Australia.
Along with enzymes, the test includes a plastic plate, 1% milk, and horseradish root, which contains an enzyme called horseradish peroxidase that turns purple if the targeted antibody is present in a blood sample; the depth of hue, which can be measured precisely using a spectrometer, indicates antibody concentration.
“Now, what does this all mean?” Krammer tweeted. “With this assay we can figure out who was infected and who wasn’t. That means we can determine the true infection rate and infection fatality rate.”
The test, by offering a way to determine those with immunity to COVID-19 infection, is of immense potential value. By determining who’s at minimal risk, it enables communities, cities and nations to safely expand the ranks of ‘front-line defenders’ in coronavirus hot spots, particularly medical settings.
Read the original paper: ‘A serological assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion in humans’, posted by the Krammer lab on 16 March 2020.