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U of T researchers developing a rapid COVID-19 antibody test

The new test will be able to determine if a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and developed antibodies to it in less than an hour.
By: Madeleine Hall
May 19, 2020
Photo: Donnelly Centre

A group of researchers at the University of Toronto have begun work on a rapid, sensitive antibody test for COVID-19. According to an Instagram post made by the University’s Department of Medicine, the test will be able to determine if a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and developed antibodies to it in less than an hour. Countries around the world are seeing tests like these as crucial as many begin to ease social distancing measures and reopen their economies.

“Until we have a valid drug treatment strategy or vaccine against COVID-19, we will have to perform mass blood testing in our corresponding countries,” says Igor Stagljar, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. “These serological tests will be the only way we can reliably determine the extent of viral spread and identify those individuals who are able to safely return to work.” Professor Stagljar is leading the research effort with support from Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund.

“Ideally we want to have a test that is very fast, low cost and accurate,” says Stagljar, which is exactly what he and his team are working to develop. The test will cause a blood sample to light up in the presence of the virus if antibodies are present.

Source: Donnelly Centre, U of T (Instagram)

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