Test developed at Duke can quickly tell who’s got antibodies to fight which coronavirus variant ::

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have created a test to quickly and easily assess how well a person’s antibodies fight infection from multiple coronavirus variants.

The test, called the COVID-19 Variant Spike-ACE2-Competitive Antibody Neutralization assay, or a variable-Scan, it can tell doctors how well the patient is protected from variables that are widespread in society as well as new. It can also refer to monoclonal antibody treatments that would best help the patient.

“We don’t currently have a quick way to assess variants, neither their presence in the individual nor the ability of the antibodies we have to make a difference,” said Dr. Cameron Wolf, associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. Permit. “It is one of the persistent fears that, as we successfully vaccinate more and more people, a variant may emerge that will radically avoid neutralizing the antibodies caused by the vaccine. And if that fear materializes – if Omicron turns out to be the worst case scenario – how do we know fast enough?”

The test technology is based on a polymer brush coating that acts as a non-stick surface to stop anything unwanted vital signs from sticking to a test strip when wet. The effectiveness of the non-stick shield makes the test sensitive even to low levels of its targets and allows researchers to print different molecular traps on different areas of the slide to capture multiple vital signs Simultaneously, test protection from multiple variables with a single test.

Researchers printed fluorescent human ACE2 material Proteins – Cellular targets of the infamous coronavirus spike Protein – on slice. They also printed the spike proteins for each variant at different locations on the slide. When the test is performed, the ACE2 proteins separate and are captured by the barbed proteins on the slide, causing them to glow.

But in the presence of the antibodies, the spike proteins are unable to capture the ACE2 proteins, which makes the chip less fluorescent and indicates the effectiveness of the antibodies. By printing different shapes of the barbed protein on different parts of the slide, researchers can see how effective the antibodies are at preventing each variant from sticking to a human cellular target.

To determine someone’s resistance to virus variants, scientists currently have to isolate the live virus and culture some cells, which can take 24 hours or more and require a variety of safety precautions and specially trained technicians. Duke researchers said a variable– SCAN does not require any live virus, can be used in most settings and takes less than An hour, maybe less than 15 minutes. to me Get accurate results.

“We would like to have a real-time view of emerging variants and understand who still has functional immunity,” Wolf said. “to be able to before– Examine an individual’s antibodies and predict whether they are adequately protected against a particular variant that they may be about to be exposed to during travel or that appear in their area. We have no way of doing that at present.”

The researchers are now working on simplifying the technique into a chip that can be mass-produced and results reported with just a few drops of blood, plasma or other liquid sample containing antibodies.

The research was conducted by a team led by Ashutosh Chilcotty, Alan L. Kaganov Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. It was published online Friday in the journal Science Advances.


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