Additional biomarkers for serological evidence of COVID-19
Researchers at the HKU SPH have identified additional antibodies in the blood that may serve as biological indicators of COVID-19 in a study published in Nature Immunology. Currently, serology tests for COVID-19 are focused on identifying antibodies against spike proteins at the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this is likely to constitute part of the overall immune response to infection with the virus. Recent evidence also suggests that some individuals with confirmed COVID-19 do not develop robust antibody responses post-infection when tested with current serology tests. In this study, researchers tested blood samples from diagnosed COVID-19 cases and blood samples collected before the pandemic against a panel of viral proteins, and the presence of antibodies against the ORF8 and ORF3b proteins have identified diagnosed COVID-19 cases with high accuracy even during early stages of the disease. While the authors note that further confirmation of their results is needed by assessing antibody responses of cohorts from different continents, their study demonstrated that patients do produce antibodies to other structural and non-structural proteins of the SARS-CoV-2.
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