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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Evaluating a novel diagnostic test for COVID-19

Published: 10 September 2020
Antibody test

Researchers from the University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine are collaborating with a team from the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to evaluate a novel diagnostic test for COVID-19. Current testing of the virus takes 2-3 days for test results to be known. Rapid, accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 would greatly help in the treatment of patients who have symptoms of possible COVID-19.

Global-NAMRIP members Professor Michael Moore and Dr Merlin Willcox from the Faculty of Medicine are leading the CERAbTc-19 study - Clinical Evaluation of Rapid Antibody Test for Covid-19 . The team aims to evaluate the accuracy and clinical usefulness of antibody tests manufactured by Zuhai Livzon Diagnostics Inc in China.

The test involves taking a drop of blood from the patient and applying to a test strip along with two drops of diluent. If the patient has antibodies to COVID-19 then two lines appear on the test strip whereas one line will show that the patient has no antibodies. There are two different types of antibody with a separate test for each one. IgM is produced early in the course of the illness and then IgG is produced later and continues to be present, probably for months or years.

The team aim to recruit 200 patients in the 3-month study allowing them to quickly discover the accuracy of this new test. If the results are positive, further studies will be carried out to assess how it can help the management of patients with suspected COVID-19.

The University of Southampton team are Dr Tristan Clark , Professor Nick Francis , Professor Gareth Griffiths , Professor Paul Little , Dr Clare R. McDermott , Wendy O’Brien , Catherine Simpson, Dr Beth Stuart and Professor Tom Wilkinson .

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