The efforts to contain the pandemic are in full swing. But as long as infection numbers remain high, the sense of uncertainty keeps growing. During the daily race between incidence of cases and vaccine availability, certain questions occur to us again and again that we cannot put to rest: Did I have the virus already without knowing it? Am I protected? Can I become infected again even though I already had it? Am I endangering myself or other people if I go to the doctor or use public transport?
cPass: little effort, great benefits
The world’s first SARS-CoV-2 surrogate neutralisation test cPass, manufactured by the life science company GenScript Biotech and distributed by medac Diagnostics finally provides the answers: It is based on the competitive ELISA test method, a method to detect the concentration of antibodies in the blood that precisely shows the blocking effect of neutralising antibodies. All that is needed is a simple blood sample, which any standard diagnostic laboratory can analyse within only one hour. Little effort, big impact: The certainty of having had the infection and therefore of most likely being protected will allow us to regain a little bit of the old normal.
The protecting effect of neutralising antibodies
The test is so efficient because it detects the efficiency of existing neutralising antibodies. When a virus enters the body through the nose and throat it binds to the ACE2 receptors of human cells in a targeted manner. Antibodies are formed as a response by the immune system. However, only some of the antibodies have a protective function; those are the so-called neutralising antibodies. These block the virus from binding to the cell. Now, the cPass test measures the blocking activity of these neutralising antibodies and can therefore provide a quick and reliable answer to the question in how far a patient may be protected from COVID-19.
Positive effect on the vaccination campaign
The cPass test can also have a major impact on the vaccination campaign and the goal of reaching herd immunity: This is because it can reliably identify those patients that may have unknowingly developed immune protection after a possibly symptom-free infection with COVID-19. Study data have also shown that not all COVID-19 infections confirmed with a PCR test will result in immunity. In around 10% of those cases it is possible that no sufficient protection exists as no neutralising antibodies were formed. The cPass test can help people gain clarity on their own status and therefore allow them to wait for their turn to be vaccinated with their minds at ease.
The test can also determine the formation of neutralising antibodies following vaccination and therefore confirm that the vaccine worked as intended. Thereby, trust in the vaccine can be strengthened so that as many people as possible get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
To date, no data is available on how long the vaccine protection will last. In this, too the cPass test makes a pioneering contribution to long-term studies to investigate at what point a booster vaccine will have to be given. The question of when herd immunity will be reached can also be answered and tracked with the help of this test.
Difference to conventional antibody tests
Scientific experts have recognised the potential of this new test procedure compared to conventional antibody tests. While the latter can tell whether a person has had contact with the virus, they cannot estimate the potential protection from reinfection. The cPass test, on the other hand, shows in a laboratory whether the efficiency of neutralising antibodies can be detected at the time of the test with a reliability of 99 per cent. This means that it is possible to tell quickly and at little expense and laboratory effort whether a patient is potentially protected from COVID-19 infection or not.
The cPass test is available in Germany and Austria as of now. For the test, physicians will collect a blood sample that will then be tested in a laboratory with the cPass.
Find out more at www.cpass-test.de
Tel. +49 (0)4103 – 8006 9111