By Jeanie Quach
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of the “T-Detect” COVID Test, developed by Adaptive Biotechnologies, to determine if a person has had a recent or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although antibody tests have been widely used to determine prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, they are limited because antibodies are known to wane after a few months’ time. T cells, on the other hand, appear to last longer than antibodies and are therefore an important marker when studying immune responses. T cells are an important part of the adaptive arm of the immune system, serving as the first responders to fight the virus and they also help the body “remember” the virus.
The “T-Detect” COVID Test requires white a blood cells blood draw taken from a blood sample followed by and extraction of T cell DNA, which is then sequenced using modelling and an immune system map which was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. This unique test is suggested to help people who suffer from lingering COVID symptoms for months (read more about long COVID here), by providing evidence of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection that could not be detected with current antibody-based assays. It will be interesting to see if the “T-Detect” will be widely used in addition to antibody tests to assess COVID-19 infections.
Read more about this new test: