Many groups are working to develop antibody tests as part of the effort to aid doctors in the fight against COVID-19, including a northern Utah biomedical company.
The official name of the virus that led to the coronavirus outbreak is SARS-CoV-2.
“The virus that causes Covid 19. Much like HIV causes AIDS," said Dr. Brett Baumgartner, a senior scientist at Quansys Biosciences. He is working on the team developing a test that will determine if patients have antibodies in their blood that can fight SARS1-CoV-2.
“The purpose of this test is to be able to take someone’s blood and determine whether or not they’ve been exposed and, importantly, whether they’ve had an appropriate immune response to the virus.”
Dr. Baumgartner said the development of an antibody test has required a massive team effort from scientists around the world.
“When this outbreak occurred, the researchers in China released the genomic sequence of this virus, along with the genes that are unique to this virus and other companies and groups took that information and created proteins that are specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And so those proteins are what our immune system sees as foreign, and our immune system attacks those proteins. So if we understand what proteins are unique to this new virus, we can design tests.”
He said the test is almost ready for use.
“We’re working in the background on getting all of the correct approvals. We hope that by the end of the month that we will be able to offer this to people.”