October 23, 2020

In search of reliable mobile fast tests for COVID-19 Antibodies.


While all research labs were shut down for a few months, late March to mid-June 2020, for all but COVID19 related research, I turned my biochemical skills to a project to help evaluate one version of a serum COVID-19 antibody test that can use a single droplet (10 microliters) of blood from a finger-poke and which gives a reliable result in 15 minutes. Also without using any powered equipment. Cheap, mobile reliable tests like this can be used in almost any location. The problem in January to March 2020 was that many unreliable kits for such tests were rolled out mostly by firms looking to cash in, even selling online to the public. The main problem with those test kits was that they either 1) fail to detect antibodies to COVID19 when people have them, or 2) they say you are positive for antibodies to COVID19 BUT you are not.

Using finger-tip blood for tests of this type is very possible, and in fact, there are FDA and European Union approved tests that use this format "lateral flow test" for AIDS and Legionnaires Disease. However, those tests have been around for some time and were of course tested to confirm their reliability. So I approached a particular manufacturer of antibody-based research reagents when I heard they were turning their expertise to making a reliable family of tests for COVID19 antibodies in blood.