CORONAVIRUS/Local researchers develop COVID-19 antibody potency detection kit

09/16/2020 09:18 PM
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Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only
Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) Researchers at Taiwan's Chang Gung University announced Wednesday that they have developed a kit that can detect the potency of COVID-19 antibodies, which they say will aid in the process of developing a vaccine for the disease.

According to the university's Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections, identifying the potency of a person's antibodies after they have been administered a vaccine is key to determining the efficacy of the vaccine.

The detection of neutralizing antibodies is particularly important, as they reflect how well a person is protected from the disease, Shih Shin-ru (施信如), director of the research center, said in a statement.

The current method of testing for neutralizing antibodies involves placing blood serum with a virus-infected cell to see if the virus is suppressed, the statement said.

The entire process takes five to seven days, and as it involves the cultivation of viruses, has to be done inside a biosafety level 3 lab, the statement said.

However, the test kit developed by Shih and her team, which uses a specialized protein to detect the neutralizing antibodies of the virus that causes COVID-19, can be used in any laboratory, according to the researchers.

Results are available in two to three hours, though the statement did not detail their accuracy.

Shih's research team signed a technology agreement with Formosa Biomedical Inc. on Wednesday, in the hope of making the kit more widely available, the statement said.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Chiang Yi-ching)

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