New Serological Assay For SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a serological assay for the detection of antibodies. The test uses optical biosensor technology and provides quantitative measurements of antibodies in blood plasma in less than 20 minutes. This new method is called the biolayer interferometry immunosorbent assay (BLI-ISA). Serological testing is necessary to understand the spread of COVID-19 by determining how many people have been infected. The quantitative levels of antibodies help the scientists determine that a certain level of particular antibodies is needed to protect COVID-19.

The new technique is an optical technique for measuring the interactions between molecules by detecting the binding of molecules to the tip of a fiber-optic biosensor. In the first step, the biosensor tip is dipped into a solution containing the antigen (a viral protein) that is recognized by the antibody to be tested for. As the antigen binds to the biosensor tip, it generates a signal that can be used for quality control to ensure consistency in the antigen loading step. Next, after dipping into a wash solution, the biosensor is dipped into the blood plasma sample, generating a signal as antibodies bind to the antigen.

The next step detects and quantifies IgG antibodies specifically by measuring the binding of anti-IgG antibodies and provides quantitative measurements of both total antibodies and IgG antibodies. It can be designed to measure different isotypes as well. This method allows high-throughput processing of the samples and the amount of blood needed for the test can be obtained with a finger prick.

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