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New groundbreaking Swiss COVID test can detect antibodies in one minute

New groundbreaking Swiss COVID test can detect antibodies in one minute

A medical research company based in the city of Lausanne has developed a new rapid COVID-19 spit test that can detect whether a person has developed antibodies against the virus.

Swiss research comes amidst new Omicron variant concerns

The company, Abionic, has spent months researching its new method of testing, and it seems that they have had success just at the right time. With the Omicron COVID variant causing heightened global concern, particularly about the potential effects of waning vaccine immunity, it is hoped that widespread antibody testing could help contain the pandemic. 

Unlike PCR and rapid flow tests, which detect whether you have the virus or not, these tests are able to show whether or not a person’s immune system has formed a level of protection against the virus, either through having the disease in the past or through the vaccine.

Current antibody tests in Switzerland take 30 minutes

Several countries had already been considering implementing antibody testing. This would allow people with adequate levels of COVID protection to continue working, going to school and attending events, instead of relying on vaccine immunity or PCR testing. 

The advantage of using the new antibody tests is that they can be tested onsite, without the need to be sent to a lab in the way that current antibody tests do. Sending samples to a lab can be more costly, and can “take more than 24 hours to get results and require a second appointment," according to Dr. Alessandro Diana, medical director of the Qorpus Hirslanden Medical Centre in Geneva.  

Swiss antibody test works using saliva

In theory, the test itself is extremely simple. The user must collect a sample of saliva, mix it with the reagent (a substance that shows a specific reaction when it comes into contact with certain other substances) to determine the nucleoprotein. 

The mixture is then placed in a capsule and placed on the tablet of a reader. After about a minute, the result is displayed for the user to see, directly on the screen. 

The new test has been trialled on 119 people, where it was seen to be extremely reliable. In a statement from Abionic, CEO Dr. Nicolas Durand stated, "We are pleased to be able to offer the right tools to ensure a COVID-free environment… Getting a result in one minute opens the doors to places that were previously closed to many people.”

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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