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Posted: October 7, 2020

Neutralising antibody rapid tests vital for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy

The diagnostics piece of the COVID-19-pandemic-puzzle is in place, but the next vital step is to complete the development of vaccines to help control the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the world.

In this article we discuss the importance of neutralising antibodies in the context of vaccines and how rapid tests that detect these antibodies can support vaccine trials.

Focus on the antibody that assumes immunity

image of antibodies in a COVID-19 vaccine blogAntibodies that block coronavirus infection (so-called neutralising antibodies) are an important measure of immune response to the virus. These antibodies are detected in infected individuals and in those who have recovered from infection and are an important component of the protective immune response.

Some studies suggest the levels of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies in the blood decrease a few months after infection, but a recent study concluded ‘antiviral antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 did not decline within 4 months after diagnosis’ (Source: The New England Journal of Medicine). But, by analogy with other virus infections, the antibody response is likely to be reactivated if an individual is re-exposed to coronavirus.

Measuring these neutralising antibodies provides an important indication of the proportion of the population who have been infected irrespective of whether this infection was associated with or without symptoms.

How can companion rapid antibody tests help vaccine trials?   

All current COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials are using the generation of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies as an important measure of the induction of a protective immune response. ‘Effective and safe vaccines’ are likely to be available in the near future according to a recent study (Source: nature.com). However, as these trials enter the final phases, validating the vaccine in a large patient cohort is vital for success of the trial.

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is underway, and with it could cause issues for clinical trials when trying to test vaccinated individuals. For example, people prevented from travelling in and out lockdown areas could affect the participants accessing trial centres. And with home swab tests results taking 1-3 days, these delays are not helpful when trying to expedite the validation of vaccines.

AbC-19 in use: rapid tests vital for COVID-19 vaccine efficacyThis process is made easier with an easy and reliable antibody rapid test. AbC-19TM, which detects neutralising antibodies in 20 minutes from a finger prick of blood, provides such a companion diagnostic. AbC-19’s portability means healthcare professionals can test in any location and test vaccinated individuals on multiple occasions to determine the induction and stability of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

AbC-19TM can also be used to determine the effect of other treatments (e.g. anti-viral drugs, steroids) on COVID-19 and how levels of antibodies are associated with the response to these different interventions.

Conclusion

With contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, where previously there was no viable vaccine, researchers and manufacturers must work around the clock to produce a vaccine. In turn proving efficacy needs to move at the same pace. Companion diagnostics solutions, like AbC-19TM Rapid Test, provide a reliable and rapid tool to support the process. In fact, using such a device applies for all clinical trials when testing human response.

Learn more

Speak with Abingdon Health to learn how AbC-19TM Rapid Test can help determine the induction and stability of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies during vaccine clinical trials.

Co-authored by Lawrence Young virologist and Professor at the University of Warwick and Scientific Advisor to Abingdon Health.