KEY POINTS

  • Mount Sinai researchers develop COVID-19 antibody tests
  • Determine accurate infection and fatality rate
  • Determine immune and strong individuals to care for patients with minimal to no risks
  • Potentially donate antibody-rich plasma of survivors to patients to stimulate immune system
  • Test has 1,000 patients per day capacity

Mount Sinai researchers turned their focus to developing tests using antibodies to respond to the growing cases of COVID-19.

The researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai worked to determine a method to detect virus-fighting antibodies from the blood of coronavirus survivors and are already in the process of determining how quickly people develop antibodies to COVID-19, the New York Post reported.

The importance of using antibodies in testing were highly detailed in the Mount Sinai.org website where they enumerated the three major significance in testing a COVID-19 survivor's antibodies.

First, it provides an accurate picture of the number of people infected; second, it determines the people who have developed an immunity against the virus and therefore could care for COVID-19 patients with minimal to zero risks; and lastly, it would identify newly-recovered patients with high levels of the virus-fighting antibodies and could potentially donate their antibody-rich plasma to patients with severe COVID-19 in an effort to stimulate and strengthen the patients' immune systems to battle the virus.

According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, state officials were testing the procedure where the plasma of a COVID-19 survivor was taken, processed and the antibodies were injected into a patient.

The study has been posted on the preprint server medRxiv, and although it's yet too early to use the test on patients because it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the trial which will begin this week on a "compassionate care basis".

Mount Sinai school virologist Florian Krammer said that labs could scale the test to "screen a few thousand people a day" for antibodies.

However, at this time, Mount Sinai follows the New York state guidelines where they test only those who have trouble breathing and/or moderate to severe respiratory symptoms.

Medical workers at a Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco on March 12 Surgeon General Jerome Adams said 15 days of social distancing may not be enough to tackle the country's coronavirus crisis. Medical workers at a Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco on March 12. Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson