A team of researchers from the University of Utah Health and the University of Toronto has jointly developed a new Covid-19 antibody test to measure immunity against Covid variants.

The test will be used to determine who needs a booster and when, saving lives and preventing more future lockdowns.

The test is based on the Neu-SATiN, which stands for Neutralization Serological Assay to monitor neutralizing antibodies.

According to the researchers, Neu-SATiN can be quickly adapted for new variants and is an accurate, fast, and less expensive method than the existing gold standard assay.

This pin prick test is powered by the fluorescent luciferase protein from a deep-water shrimp.

It evaluates how well the viral spike protein binds to individual luciferase fragment-coated human ACE2 receptors.

The luciferase fragments are brought together by the binding to form a full-length protein, which emits a glow of light that is captured by equipment.

The neutralising antibodies will attach to the spike protein when a patient blood sample is introduced to the mixture, keeping it from coming into touch with ACE2.

Its plug and play technique can be modified to work with many variations in a matter of weeks by creating variant mutations in the spike protein.

To test Neu-SATiN, the researchers conducted a study led by Shawn Owen, an assistant professor at the University of Utah Health, and Igor Stagljar, a biochemistry professor at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

They took blood samples from 63 individuals with varying histories of Covid-19 infection and immunisation up to November 2021.

The study evaluated participants’ ability to neutralise antibodies against the original Wuhan strain as well as its variations, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron.

It was discovered that the neutralising antibodies persisted for three to four months.

Their levels dropped by 70% irrespective of infection or vaccination status.

Higher antibody levels which were acquired by both infection and vaccination also decreased four months later.

The findings showed that vaccination or infection offered adequate defence against the prior variants, but not against Omicron or its sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5.

The researchers hope to expand the availability of the test in the future.