In a new study, employees from Danderyd Hospital will be tested for antibodies against COVID-19 using the new serological test developed by researchers at KTH and the SciLifeLab Autoimmunity Profiling unit, among them, Peter Nilsson (SciLifeLab/KTH). It will be the first hospital to evaluate this new test that could verify if an individual has previously been infected by COVID-19.
“There is a great need for an effective serological test that can determine whether an individual has previously been infected or not. By analyzing a small drop of blood we hope to be able to determine this”, says Charlotte Thålin, doctor and researcher responsible for the study at Danderyd Hospital.
“Since we are able to produce all the necessary proteins ourselves, a reliable, fast and efficient blood analysis has been created, suitable for large-scale screening of a large number of individuals at a low cost. The collaboration with Danderyd hospital makes it possible to validate the method in an efficient and quantitative way”, says Sophia Hober, project manager and professor at KTH.
The tests currently on the market vary greatly in availability and quality. By testing hospital staff over a longer period of time, it is possible to determine who has, partly or wholly, developed immunity to COVID-19.
The information can then be used to determine who can safely return to work without spreading the disease, something that is especially important in health care. The data will also improve our understanding of how the virus works.
“It is with great excitement that we have received the first batch of samples. We will now analyze the antibodies in the first 380 samples on a panel with 50 different variants of SARS-CoV-2 proteins. In addition to the samples from Danderyd Hospital, samples from Karolinska University Hospital, taken from patients with other diseases, will be used as negative controls. We are now ready to receive some thousands of samples from Danderyd and Karolinska next week”, says Peter Nilsson.
“It feels incredibly exciting that we can perform this kind of study at Danderyds hospital and we hope that it gives us more information about the COVID-19 virus. Knowledge that can help not only our employees, but all people in the fight against COVID-19, says CEO Yvonne Haglund Åkerlind.
Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz