May 25, 2021

Antibody Testing For COVID-19: Evolution And Significance

In India, the first reported case of COVID-19 was in February 2020. Subsequently, in the next month, the lockdown was introduced for the entire country. The primary objective of the lockdown was to contain the infection, isolate the infected people and start with the early detection of SARS-CoV-2 disease. RT-PCR is the gold standard for confirming COVID-19. Preliminary screening of COVID-19 is by Rapid Antigen test.

While the viral load and the antigen response are responsible for symptoms and help screen symptomatic patients, tests like RT-PCR and RAT are ideal in this scenario. During this period, the chance of missing the asymptomatic patients is relatively high as they are at more risk of spreading the infection. Like any other infection, SARS-CoV-2 triggers the production of antibodies, ideally from the eighth day of the disease with IgM and IgA simultaneously. As a respiratory illness, it is paramount to detect the presence of these antibodies at the early stage. The mimicking symptoms and environmental factors coupled with asymptomatic strata burden the testing capacity, and by the time of detection, the secondary response triggers the formation of IgG antibodies. It takes time to build up the immune system, and their titer itself can determine the course of the infection and the possible treatment plan for the individual. Of all the antigenic proteins, the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is the most pathogenic. The development of Neutralizing Antibodies to Spike-ACE2 receptor is an induced response to the immune system induced in the host system through vaccination. The scope of antibody testing in COVID-19 is ideal both in the early phase for the asymptomatic patients and due course of disease progression. The post-vaccination surveillance opens up the avenue of specific monitoring of antibody titers. It determines the possibilities of plasma therapy, proper development of humoral immunity, and the overall containment of the infection.

Since the start of the pandemic, J Mitra & Co. is catering to the need for Antibody testing for COVID-19 infection. It became the first company to indigenously develop and manufacture the COVID-19 (IgM+IgA+IgG) ELISA kit, followed by the COVID-19 Kawach IgG ELISA kit. Both these kits suited well for the early and the late stages of the infection, respectively. The second wave of COVID-19 has proved to be more challenging. Hence the idea was conceived to address the concern of utilizing the Neutralizing antibodies in the diagnostic approach. Hence, the COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody kit was developed and effective with >95% Sensitivity and 100% Specificity.

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