There Can Be a More Affordable Way to Assess Antibody Levels in COVID Cases

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the United States has been trying and testing different means to control the spread of the virus. The mass production of vaccines has been one of the significant feats so far, which helped curb the curve from peaking and reduced the rates of death and hospitalization in the nation. Continuous reliance on advanced technologies and scientific research is also supporting the state to make the lives of its citizens further convenient even in the wake of the new surge. If you are clueless, Johns Hopkins University’s researchers have come up with the idea of a novel glucose meter test. The new test can be more affordable and convenient than most other credible assays.

According to The University of California’s Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, there can be developmental issues in creating glucometers. Still, this new approach can render home diagnosis cheaper and more precise, like glucose sensing. 

The investigation of the antibodies

Generally, COVID-19 diagnosis looks for the traces of existing proteins or viral genes. On the other hand, the new methods of antibody quantification for COVID can diagnose the earlier exposure to the infection. These essays study the predominant IgG antibodies in the blood, which strengthen immunity to combat viral and bacterial infections like SARS-CoV-2. The experts suggest these antibodies stay in the body for a long time, even after the illness or vaccination. 

With the help of IgG antibodies, the experts can tell us how protected you stand against getting the infection. You are protected if you have many antibodies in your blood. Likewise, low levels indicate a higher risk of getting the disease. Such types of evaluation can come in handy in determining the duration of the population’s safety against this infection after vaccination. It can also signal the level of immunity remaining after the previous infection. People have a perceptible fear that the new COVID sub-variants are impacting their immunity. Hence, it has become more critical to analyze this factor, and tests like these on antibody levels can also be the guiding force for booster shots.

Are you worried about the news around occurrences of long COVID from the new variants? The researchers say that people with Omicron can be 20-50% at less risk of suffering from the prolonged symptoms than those diagnosed with Delta. In precise terms, Delta infection saw about 10.8% of long COVID cases, against Omicron cases that accounted for a total of 4.4%. According to new CDC guidelines, COVID-infected people need to isolate themselves for five days and wear a mask for the next five days. Also, there is an emphasis on getting vaccines that show promising outcomes in protecting against the infection. 

However, delving into MyBioSource’s recent COVID poll can help gauge the negativity around public health policies on the pandemic. Places like Montana (31%), South Dakota (36%), and Louisiana (15%) suggest a growing negative shift in opinion around COVID rules. Such experiences can potentially cause a plateau or decline in the adoption rate. 

Coming back to the COVID assays, the experts explain that Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) have been extremely helpful in studying antibody levels. But this process depends on expensive lab examination to further arrive at a point. So it takes more time and money and requires the involvement of competent technicians. Also, these are qualitative. Hence, there is a need for a more convenient and cost-effective approach, which can be possible through glucometers. 

The utility of glucometers

Glucose meters for antibody detection use antibodies coupled with a special enzyme. This enzyme breaks down sugar into glucose. The antibodies attach to the enzyme and create glucose when added with sucrose solution. The amount of newly created glucose can be equal to the amount of protein of interest. A glucose meter uses a strip with a chemical on it. The strip goes into a special machine that measures the amount of glucose in the solution. The more glucose there is, the more the strip changes color.

The scientists say that the goal is to make this technology available to everyone. They want to see if it can protect people from getting sick overall. They want to start by making enough of it to give it to many people while using the information coming from this method to figure out the relation of the antibody levels with disease protection, which can be anything and not just COVID-led.

Nevertheless, there is enough anticipation that this new COVID assay can make at-home tests more accessible, quick, and low-cost. It can help both public and clinicians know the results without depending on a long-drawn evaluation process. 

While many things are happening on the scientific and technological front, it’s also true that the new surge of the infection rate across the US is throwing normal life out of gear. The only respite is the lower fatality and hospitalization rate. Infected people can help stop the spread by wearing masks and quarantining as per the latest CDC guidelines.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash