Experts identify steps to expand and improve antibody tests in COVID-19 response

June 23, 2020

WHAT:

More than 300 scientists and clinicians from the federal government, industry and academia published a report of their conclusions and recommendations on COVID-19 serology studies online in Immunity. The group gathered for an online workshop in May to discuss the role of serology testing in understanding and responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis and to explore strategies to address key scientific knowledge opportunities and gaps in the emerging field. Serology tests for COVID-19 are designed to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While such tests do not diagnose active infection, they can indicate prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 that may have been missed because a person did not experience significant symptoms or access testing while infected.

The COVID-19 Serology Studies workshop was convened by an interagency working group comprised of experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services--including scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), parts of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority--and the Department of Defense. Attendees assessed efforts to better understand the implications of serology test results, to produce and validate test kits, and to quantify undetected cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Attendees recommended that additional research is needed to determine if and to what extent a positive antibody test means a person may be protected from reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. Attendees emphasized that until such data is available, serology tests should not be used as a stand-alone tool to make decisions about personal safety related to SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Researchers are now pursuing studies in humans and in animal models to better understand SARS-CoV-2 immunity. Attendees noted that such understanding could help identify optimal donors of convalescent plasma that potentially could be used to help treat those with severe COVID-19.

Researchers from NCI reviewed progress in their effort to independently validate SARS-CoV-2 serology tests on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Attendees also proposed strategies to expand the accuracy and capacity of these tests to distinguish between naturally acquired and vaccine-induced antibodies, which will be critical to evaluating COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Both community-based and large-scale serology surveillance efforts--such as the RESPONSE study sponsored by NIAID and NHLBI--are collecting critical data to improve epidemiological models and inform public health decision-making. Ideally, attendees noted, federal partners will expand this activity to establish an interactive serological database that will help public health officials monitor and quickly respond to changes in SARS-CoV-2 infection patterns.
-end-
ARTICLE:

A Lerner et al. COVID-19 Serology Studies Workshop: Meeting Report. Immunity DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.06.012 (2020).

WHO:

Cristina Cassetti, Ph.D., deputy director of NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, is available for comment.

CONTACT:

To schedule interviews, please contact the NIAID Office of Communications, (301) 402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Related Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Halving the risk of infection following surgery
New analysis by the University of Leeds and the University of Bern of more than 14,000 operations has found that using alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) halves the risk of infection in certain types of surgery when compared to the more commonly used povidone-iodine (PVI).

How plants shut the door on infection
A new study by an international team including University of Maryland scientists has discovered the key calcium channel responsible for closing plant pores as an immune response to pathogen exposure.

Sensing infection, suppressing regeneration
UIC researchers describe an enzyme that blocks the ability of blood vessel cells to self-heal.

Boost to lung immunity following infection
The strength of the immune system in response to respiratory infections is constantly changing, depending on the history of previous, unrelated infections, according to new research from the Crick.

Is infection after surgery associated with increased long-term risk of infection, death?
Whether experiencing an infection within the first 30 days after surgery is associated with an increased risk of another infection and death within one year was the focus of this observational study that included about 660,000 veterans who underwent major surgery.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

UK study shows most patients with suspected urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics actually lack evidence of this infection
New research presented at this week's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16, 2019) shows that only one third of patients that enter the emergency department with suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) actually have evidence of this infection, yet almost all are treated with antibiotics, unnecessarily driving the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Bacteria in urine doesn't always indicate infection
Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Subsidies for infection control to healthcare institutions help reduce infection levels
Researchers compared three types of infection control subsidies and found that under a limited budget, a dollar-for-dollar matching subsidy, in which policymakers match hospital spending for infection control measures, was the most effective at reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy
This study is the first to report a possible mechanism for the enhancement of Zika virus progression during pregnancy in an animal model.

Read More: Infection News and Infection Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.