University Of Utah, Local Laboratories Develop Rapid Coronavirus Antibody Test

May 11, 2021

After a NanoSpot.AI rapid COVID-19 antibody test has been completed, the person administering the test takes a picture of the test card using a mobile phone. The image is transmitted to Techcyte Inc. for analysis using Techcyte’s artificial intelligence-based image analysis tool.
Credit ARUP Laboratories

The University of Utah recently partnered with two Utah laboratories to produce an inexpensive coronavirus antibody test, in the form of a mobile app.

“There are many tests around that detect antibodies by now. But our aim was to develop something that is fast, that can be done anywhere in the world without the need of any additional instruments, or lab supplies, and something that is very affordable,” said Vanessa Redecke, a professor at the University of Utah.

The U, in partnership with ARUP Laboratories and Techcyte Inc. developed NanoSpot.AI, a new app-based antibody test for novel coronavirus antibodies.

Redecke and her team said the new test is an improvement on current tests: it’s cheaper, it requires less blood and it returns results in seconds. The only requirements are a special notecard, a cellphone with the NanoSpot.AI app and an internet connection, making the test accessible to healthcare providers across the globe.

To run the test, a drop of blood is placed on a special notecard that holds a protein designed to react with virus antibodies. A healthcare provider takes a photo of the card with the NanoSpot.AI app, which uses artificial intelligence to determine if a patient has antibodies based on their test results.

Hans Haecker, a University of Utah professor, said the tests can help health care professionals determine if a patient can forgo a second vaccine dose or monitor antibodies post-vaccination to see when patients need a booster shot.

“For example, you get your first vaccine and at the same time you do a test, then you will know ‘Do you need a second vaccine at all’ or, in this other scenario, once the antibodies go below a certain threshold, you know, you should really get vaccinated again,” Haecker said.

Haecker said this test can also be applied to other viruses.

“The principal way that test works can be applied basically to any antibody…we think that this is really a platform that we develop that we can use for other pathogens as well,” Haecker said.

A short video demonstrating the test can be found on ARUP Laboratories YouTube channel.