UPMC Developing Test to Detect COVID-19 Immunity
Such a test would identify so-called “super people” who could treat COVID-19 patients with little risk to themselves or others.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working with UPMC to develop a blood test that can identify people who have developed a resistance to COVID-19.
“The tests out there now only detect when the person is exposed and not yet immune,” Alan Wells, executive vice-chairman of the Section of Laboratory Medicine at UPMC, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He says UPMC and Pitt researchers are working on a test to see if people exposed to the virus might become immune to it.
The test detects the antibodies capable of neutralizing the coronavirus, which are also being researched for use in Pitt’s potential COVID-19 vaccine. While these cells have the potential to make individuals immune to the virus, there is still not enough evidence to guarantee a person can’t get reinfected or transfer the illness to others.
Another question to be answered is how long their immunity might last.
“We do not have the capabilities to test the general public at this time,” UPMC said in a statement. ”We are still determining the meaning of the tests. In addition, we expect that supplies will continue to be extremely limited. Once available, it will likely be used in conjunction with various local and national clinical trials that UPMC is organizing or participating in.”