New COVID-19 antibody test kits have been introduced by UAE’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL) as part of the drive to support the country’s readiness in combating the current pandemic.
While acknowledging that the Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing continued to the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19, NRL experts highlighted the benefits of the new serology test kits, stating these complementary antibody tests provide useful information for treating the disease and analysing its spread, as well as having potential implications for human resource planning.
Abdul Hamid Oubeisi, CEO of Mubadala Healthcare provider NRL pointed out that the serology tests’ potential uses will become increasingly critical in time.
Oubeisi reported that NRL reviewed several of the newer serology tests, and selected its test kit based on its high sensitivity and specificity levels, which underscore the test’s accuracy.
The chosen kit has a specificity of more than 99.5 per cent. NRL has the capacity and resources to turn the results around in a few hours.
NRL’s experts have found that the serology results offer insights useful in clinical treatment settings – such as supporting the diagnosis of COVID-19 illness for patients who present late after nine to 14 days of illness; in children presenting with multisystem inflammatory syndrome; and in identifying suitable donors for convalescent plasma therapy.
On a larger scale, the information from serology tests can also be used in analysing the epidemiology of this pandemic to help governments and health authorities develop protective policies and mitigate the impact of the disease.