Swiss Pharma Giant Roche Plans to Start Selling Antibody Test in May

Swiss Pharma Giant Roche Plans to Start Selling Antibody Test in May

Swiss Pharma Giant Roche Plans to Start Selling Antibody Test in May

For some viral diseases such a measles, overcoming the sickness confers immunity for life.

When Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Emergencies Program was asked how long a recovered COVID-19 patient would have immunity, he said, "We do not have the answers to that - it's an unknown", and added, "We would expect that to be a reasonable period of protection, but it is very hard to say with a new virus - we can only extrapolate from other coronaviruses, and even that data is quite limited".

At least that is the theory.

The World Health Organization issued a warning Friday about testing coronavirus, said there was no evidence of serological tests can indicate whether a person has immunity or no longer at risk of being reinfected.

Germany has begun conducting mass COVID-19 antibody testing in order to gain a better understanding of how deeply the virus has penetrated society and what social restrictions are most effective in bending the infection curve, according to a New York Times report published on Saturday (April 19).

Francois Balloux director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, told AFP that in terms of the SARS affected patients, between 2002 and 2003, they remained protected for nearly three years, on average. "We'll only know retroactively". Pasteur Institute researcher Frederic Tangy said it doesn't reveal any conclusive theory.

If 50 times more people have had the infection, the death rate could drop by that same factor, putting it "somewhere between "little worse than the flu" to "twice as bad as the flu" in terms of case fatality rate", Dr Bhattacharya said.

Planelles anticipates using antibody tests to understand who is more equipped to defend themselves against the coronavirus. "That is not ideal". "Timely availability and fast access to reliable, high quality tests are essential for healthcare systems".

Having antibodies against a virus signals that you have built an immunity against it.

"Antibody testing is an important next step to tell if someone has been previously infected".

Indeed, a host of questions remain.

For Tangy, an even grimmer reality can not be excluded.

"No one can determine whether a person with antibodies fully protected against the disease or being exposed again", he said. These tests are available to people in clinical need and we are also providing them to more and more key frontline workers such as NHS staff and care workers, so that they can stop self-isolating and return to work if the test comes back negative. And does age make a difference? "We just don't know if it's immunity for a month, immunity for six months, immunity for six years".

Those findings came as the United Kingdom government considers the use of "immunity passports" to allow people to return to work.

"It's too premature at this point", said Saad Omer, a professor of infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine.

"Such a test could, if developed in such a way that they could be reliably used at home and be sufficiently accurate, be a game-changer", he added. The Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoassay is an in vitro test, using human serum and plasma drawn from a blood sample, to detect antibodies and determine the body's immune reaction to SARS-CoV-2. Thus, it will be possible to find out the real number of people who got through the virus.

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