Pavias’ San Matteo general hospital has initiated a collaboration with DiaSorin, an Italian Diagnostics company in light of their development of a blood test that can be used to determine if a person has developed immunity to the coronavirus or not. San Matteo hospital had created a rudimentary test prior to the collaboration with DiaSorin, based on tests done on one hundred and fifty former patients who recovered from the coronavirus within the hospital, but it wasn’t efficient enough to reproduce on a large scale, thus they collaborated with the diagnostics centre to create a better, more wider reaching test.
“We’ve pushed science beyond our prior knowledge” Alesandro Venturi, director of San Matteo stated proudly. The Italian government has recently been discussing a “re-opening” of the country, allowing many to go back to work, and also to monitor those who are sick or at risk of becoming sick, and it is likely that the use of some kind of license to work, even an ‘immunity passport’ as some are calling it, may be put into effect.
“The serum of some patients contain antibodies that are able to kill the virus, preventing it from destroying the cells, that’s why we can discuss the possibility of an immunity license” explains San Matteo chief virologist Fausto Baldanti.
In the region of Lombardy, where this test was developed, there are Sixty-four laboratories capable of testing one thousand samples a day, giving an estimated sixty-four thousand results to patients and prospective workers ready to get back to their pre-covid routines, while in all of Italy, approximately five hundred such facilities exist, potentially enabling the Italian workforce the ability to go to work, and with a projected 95% accuracy rate, the test is more accurate than prior technology.
The new testing has been ready since the 9th of April after a month of testing, and requires a blood sample to analyse the antibodies present in the blood, and can indicate if there are antibodies capable of fighting Covid 19, that’s why this test is important to produce in a mass scale so we can know the amount of people who have been infected. Prior tests took up to seven hours and couldn’t brag of a high accuracy rate, however this test can be completed in fifteen minutes, the civil protection division of the government tells us that more than one hundred and fifty thousand people will be tested by April the fourth, and it is believed that FDA approval for American use will be finished also around the beginning of May.
The test will help us understand the infectivity and mortality rate that more closely represents the true spread of the disease, but while it can give us a lot of information, how to go ahead is yet to be decided.
One thing is sure, and that is the cooperation between laboratories for the furthering of the betterment of all is a commendable effort, especially in the times we find ourselves.
Written by Ashley Dry