From Iceland — New Method Ready To Detect Coronavirus Antibodies

New Method Ready To Detect Coronavirus Antibodies

Published May 15, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
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Landspítali’s virology department has devised a method for measuring blood for coronavirus antibodies. In the near future, a number of samples will be presented to the department.

The staff of the biology and virology department has reported 20,000 samples taken from the noses and throats of people suspected to have the virus since the end of February, according to Now the test will measure antibodies to determine if the patient has ever had the virus. This will more accurately determine how many people have actually been infected.

“We think we have come up with a method that is satisfactory,” professor and doctor at Landspítali Karl G. Kristinsson told RÚV. “We will have to test two other types of reagents and we will probably end with the ones that come out best.”

The COPAS antibody test takes 30 samples at a time, and returns results after two hours. There are two machines that perform the test in the hospital.

Blood samples for antibody testing have begun to be collected from those who undergo a blood test for reasons other than COVID. They are then tested by Icelandic genetic analysis. In a release on Wednesday, Heilsugæslan said that the study is expensive, and it is unclear who will pay for it. For this reason, the clinic does not intend to send blood samples for antibody analysis until it is clear who is paying. This should become clear in the next few days.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

Tune into our COVID-Cast for a deeper dive into the day’s developments.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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