Covid-19 Neutralizing Antibody Test critical for India’s fight against Coronavirus

Neutralizing antibody (NAb) is the antibody that defends cells from pathogens, which are organisms that cause disease (in this case, SARS-CoV-2).

Covid-19, Neutralizing Antibody Test, Coronavirus, Pfizer, Moderna, Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, SARS-CoV-2 virus, NAb, DCGI
WHO supports studies based on neutralizing antibody tests as they are critical for understanding infection's extent and risk factors.

By Jatin Mahajan,

US Centre for Disease Control has recommended a 3rd dose of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for developing adequate antibodies amongst immunocompromised people. Some experts recommend a 3rd dose of Covishield six months after the second dose for depleting antibodies. The UK has recently announced 3rd vaccination dose for those above 50 years to eradicate the threat from the infection.

These developments are a direct fallout of the innumerable cases of low antibodies level even after two doses of the vaccines. These immunocompromised people may be active cancer treatment receivers, organ transplant patients, or those undertaking immunosuppressant medicines. They may be those who have received stem cell transplants in the past two years. HIV patients and those undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids and similar drugs that suppress the immune response also fall in this category. They also comprise others with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency.

So how can we be sure if our antibody levels are adequately high against Covid-19? The solution is simple and available. The Covid-19 Neutralizing Antibody Microlisa test is critical and crucial to India’s fight against the corona pandemic because it showcases how effective the vaccination has been for creating neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Virus neutralization is the gold standard for finding antibody efficacy. Covid-19 neutralizing antibody test detects neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Neutralization assays are complex biological lab tests, the only method to functionally test antibodies for their ability to prevent cell infection by SARS-CoV-2. Many countries are now pushing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the population level and taking necessary corrective actions.

WHO supports studies based on neutralizing antibody tests as they are critical for understanding infection’s extent and risk factors. Some countries that have implemented SARS-CoV-2 antibodies testing to monitor the development of herd immunity include the USA, UK, Australia, China, Thailand, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Brazil, Iceland, Spain, amongst others.

What is Neutralizing Antibody?

Neutralizing antibody (NAb) is the antibody that defends cells from pathogens, which are organisms that cause disease (in this case, SARS-CoV-2). The body produces them naturally as part of its immune response, and both infections and vaccinations against diseases trigger their production.

NAb stops infections by incapacitating the invading pathogen by Blocking cell entry, replication, or other vital function. Neutralizing antibodies can result in lifelong immunity to certain infections. Therefore, they are practical to see if a person has developed immunity to disease after they have recovered from it or post-vaccination.

What are the Importance and Benefits of Neutralizing Antibodies in COVID testing?

1. Neutralizing Antibodies (or Late arriving IgG) are key to reducing infection.
2. NAb prevents the virus from fastening to the host cell.
3. The prevalence of these antibodies (in High Titre) determine:
a) If the individual has an excellent humoral immunity
b) If they can donate convalescent plasma (no longer recommended in India as a viable fight against Covid-19)
c) If the vaccination is effective, and thus the level of precautions that are needed
4. NAb(s) provide zero cross-reactivity with any other coronavirus infections.
5. The testing of NAb(s) can help the patients to segregate between mild, moderate, and severe categories.
6. They assist in the tracking of infection chains.
7. Answer epidemiological, virological, and clinic questions, including, but not limited to, whether a robust antibody response has occurred.
8. The short-term to long-term immunity and the treatment regime can be devised explicitly for an individual by testing NAb(s).
9. Neutralizing antibodies are more applicable to be catered as the advanced Diagnostic and therapeutic marker to address the resurgence of COVID infections in the country and how many positive individuals have remained asymptomatic.
10. The presence of NAb highlights immunity against viral infections.

Who is Manufacturing These Tests?

J Mitra & Company, an Indian biotechnology company and the global leader in the IVD space, has launched India’s first Covid-19 Neutralizing Antibody Microlisa Elisa Test as part of its ongoing fight against the corona pandemic. The test kit has cleared all government parameters and received all necessary approvals, including Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) & successful product validation. The test kit has high sensitivity (> 95%) and Specificity (100%).

(The author is Managing Director, J Mitra & Co. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult health experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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First published on: 26-08-2021 at 14:14 IST