UCI Professor Launches 6-Month Study of Rapidly Testing for COVID-19 Antibodies

Making Waves
May 14, 2020 By Jackie Connor

The UC Irvine Vaccine R&D Center at UCI’s School of Medicine’s Institute for Immunology developed a way to test COVID-19 immunity against 34 coronavirus antigens, or 33 antigens from six other harmful viruses that cause respiratory infections, from a finger stick blood test using Phil Felgner’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Antigen Microarray technology. All within 10 minutes.

The center will be conducting the six-month study using this method on UCI healthcare workers. This test provides more accurate information about anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunity than most tests currently available. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

Felgner, director of the Vaccine R&D Center, is kicking off the study with colleagues Dr. Saahir Khan and Dr. Sebastian Schubl, both clinical research faculty at UCI.

“Hospital care workers want to know if they have been exposed to the virus while working and if they are developing an immune response to protect them from severe disease,” said Felgner. “We’ll soon be able to identify people who have been exposed to the virus, and it will take more time to accurately predict who has an immune response that protects them from disease.”

Felgner’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Antigen Microarray, a technology that is patent pending through UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Research Translation Group, helps to determine if a person has been exposed to COVID-19. Combined with the rapid turnaround time, Felgner hopes this technology will provide faster and more accurate information about the immune response of healthcare workers.

Read more about research translation at Applied Innovation.

*Main graphic: Julie Kennedy, UCI Beall Applied Innovation

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