Aussie Scientists Develop Finger Prick Test For Accurate COVID Readings

Detecting virus immunity

Article heading image for Aussie Scientists Develop Finger Prick Test For Accurate COVID Readings

Australian scientists have developed a test which delivers highly accurate readings for COVID-19 taken from a finger prick of blood.

The Doherty and Burnett Institutes worked together to create the blood test, which researcher say measures our antibodies and provides a result within 20 minutes.

The point-of-care (POC) test is the first of its kind in the the world, and is useful in providing data on immunity against the variants.

While many POC tests can measure the overall level of antibodies to Sars-CoV-2 and use this to estimate neutralising antibodies (NAb), the only testing tool to measure NAb activity, which correlates with immune protection for Covid-19 and other diseases.

Burnet Institute's deputy director, Associate Professor David Anderson, said the POC test also measures a person has protective antibodies against a particular disease variant, such as Omicron.

Anderson says the finger test could be useful to help indicate when a vaccine booster is required.

"One of the key elements of the test is that it can work with finger-prick whole blood, which is essential if it is really going to be used at the point of care," Prof Anderson said.

"Another advantage is we have demonstrated that we can readily substitute different variants into the test. While we have not yet tested Omicron, this will be simple enough to incorporate in our test in place of the original strain or variants we have tested."

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23 December 2021

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