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Breakthrough test from NSW can identify antibodies produced to fight the Coronavirus


Westmead Health Precinct is leading the race with the event of a cutting-edge serology test that’s key to slowing the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Health Pathology’s Director of Public Health Pathology, Professor Dominic Dwyer, said the serology test can identify the presence of tell-tale antibodies produced to fight the virus, indicating that an individual had been infected at just once.

Breakthrough test can identify antibodies produced to fight the Coronavirus

“While this is often not a test used for the diagnosis of individual cases, serology testing will help public health experts investigate how the virus is spreading within the community, in order that they can gain better insight into the total scope of the outbreak,” Professor Dwyer said.

While current diagnostic testing continues to be the fastest, most reliable thanks to screen individual patients for a suspected COVID-19 infection, they only return a positive result if the person continues to be sick with the virus active in their system.

Serology testing shows if someone has been infected with COVID-19 previously and recovered before testing, enabling clinicians to higher understand the way the virus is spreading. It builds a scientific picture of the extent of the virus within the community and can help guide the evolving public health response to the outbreak.

“Knowing truth number of COVID-19 cases and also the extent of the virus’ spread is crucial to slowing this pandemic and making informed public health decisions,” Professor Dwyer said.

“Thanks to the current breakthrough, we are far better placed to answer questions we couldn’t have answered before through the present diagnostic testing,” Professor Dwyer said.

Serology testing will help experts better understand how the virus spreads in certain populations like aged care residents. it’s also getting used to watch exposure in healthcare workers, which may assist with infection control and private protective equipment guidelines.

NSW Health Pathology’s expert team at Institute of Clinical Pathology & Medical Research (ICPMR) Westmead developed serology testing using two highly specialised scientific methods.

The first method, antibody neutralisation, uses a serum from the patient’s blood sample to check against a sample of the virus. If the serum kills the virus, it means the person has certain antibodies that indicate they need been exposed to the virus within the past.

The second method, immunofluorescence, involves adding a chemical dye to the patient’s blood sample that lights up the antibodies under the microscope and shows them binding to the virus.

ICPMR is a component of the Westmead Health Precinct, one amongst the most important health, education, research and training precincts in Australia.

Spanning 75 hectares, the Westmead Health Precinct includes four major hospitals, three world-leading medical research institutes, two university campuses and also the largest research intensive pathology service in NSW.


Reference: The Pulse Au

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