Two New COVID Immunity Tests Developed in Boston Area

Experts say this type of easy access to immunity tests can help people figure out what kind of precautions they need to take

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Two new tests have been developed in the Boston area that are designed to predict immunity to COVID-19.

MIT has a new blood test that can potentially predict COVID-19 immunity, while Harvard has a different test that uses saliva to detect both the virus and the antibodies.



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Most people in the United States at this point have some degree of immunity against the coronavirus. That could be from the vaccine, a recent infection, or a combination of both. But it's tough to tell how much protection you actually have.

Researchers at MIT use a small blood sample to get that answer. They developed an easy to use, 10 minute test which uses the same type of lateral flow technology as the rapid tests many people have relied on throughout the pandemic. This new test from MIT measures the level of antibodies that target the COVID-19 virus in your blood. Different viral proteins can be swapped in to this test, which allows them to test for different variants of the virus as well.

Experts say this type of easy access to immunity testing can help people figure out what kind of precautions they need to take. It could also be a gamechanger for people receiving chemotherapy, have an autoimmune disease and the elderly, who are at greater risk for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, researchers at Harvard have created a new diagnostic device that can simultaneously detect the virus and the antibodies in the patient's saliva. People could learn their level of immunity and whether or not they're infected in just a few hours, without having to send samples to a lab. This is also a much cheaper method, and could improve the response to future pandemics.

Researchers have filed for a patent of this technology, and they hope to partner with a company that could manufacture large quantities of these tests before seeking FDA approval.

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