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Development of sensitive, specific COVID-19 antibody tests

NSW Health Pathology

Date Funded:
  • 17 July, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Linda Hueston

Project summary

Development of rapid, sensitive, specific antibody tests to diagnose disease, trace cases in the community and assess vaccine effectiveness.

What is the issue for NSW?

NSW needs to be able to diagnose and time infection, estimate prevalence in the population and assess vaccine effectiveness. To achieve these goals antibody tests specific for CoVID-19 are critical. lmmunofluorescent assays developed by Dr Hueston at NSW Health Pathology-lCPMR have met these goals but given the need to increase testing capacity, developing ELISA tests is the obvious next step.

In addition, ELISA allows us to measure antibody against a wide range of CoVID-19 antigens increasing our ability to get rapid answers and more accurately time when the infection happened. Currently available commercial ELISA assays lack the necessary sensitivity & antibody class specificity to achieve the required result. Therefore it is necessary to produce tests in-house that accurately diagnose CoVID-19 disease in an Australian setting.

What does the research aim to do and how?

The project aims to produce assays to improve diagnosis and treatment of CoVID-19 by using ELISA technology and a variety of CoVID-19 specific antigens. If successful this will increase testing capacity, reduce turnaround times, reduce costs and improve diagnosis.