Coronavirus testing: Cambridge researchers develop two-part test that combines RT-PCR and antibody tests

By: |
September 4, 2020 5:21 PM

The new developed test was tested on 45 patients, who provided their nasal or throat swabs and blood serum.

The test has been described in the Cell Reports Medicine.The test has been described in the Cell Reports Medicine.

Coronavirus testing: So far, RT-PCR tests are being used to detect whether a patient is infected with coronavirus and antibody tests are being used to identify the people who have been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it. However, both of them have their limitations. An RT-PCR test is conducted on throat and nasal swab samples, and it has the chances of missing the presence of virus if it has travelled from the nose or the throat and into the lungs. On the other hand, antibodies appear in the body days after the infection, which limits the abilities of the rapid antibody test.

Researchers at the Cambridge University have come up with a point-of-care test combining both RT-PCR and antibody tests, which they have described in the Cell Reports Medicine, according to a report in IE.

The new developed test was tested on 45 patients, who provided their nasal or throat swabs and blood serum. According to the report, the researchers have designed a two-part gold standard test and either of them could be positive to confirm the COVID-19 infection.

The first part would include mixing up of patients’ serum with artificial SARS-CoV-2 viruses, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This would be used to detect whether the serum contained antibodies against the virus.

The second part of the test would consist of the regular RT-PCR test, which is the most widely used test for confirmation of the infection.

When this test was used on 45 patients, 24 of them were found COVID-19 positive.

The report stated that overall, the nucleic acid tests were able to detect 80% of the patients having COVID-19, but combined with the antibodies test, all the patients infected with the novel coronavirus were correctly detected and identified.

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