Researchers have devised a new technique to find out the immunity of people against infectious diseases including COVID-19 and malaria. They have developed a diagnostic test that can potentially pinpoint when a person was last exposed to a particular infection. Also Read - Covid-19 Impact: Twitter Grants Employees Option to Work From Home 'Forever'
It does so by analyzing blood samples of previously infected patients. The novel test reveals the level of immune markers (antibodies) in a subject’s body and also helps in finding out the possible reinfection from the disease in future. Also Read - PM Modi’s COVID-19 Package Will Place India Back on Path of Economic Recovery, Says CII
The test was actually developed to track malarial infections in different communities to prevent its relapsing. But now it has been proved to be helpful in tracking immunity against novel coronavirus too. In fact, it gives more accurate and detailed information than already existing tests. Also Read - West Bengal News: Mamata Divides COVID-19 Red Zones in 3 Categories, More Relaxations Likely
According to scientists, after getting exposed to a pathogen, a human body starts secreting antibodies that help fighting against that particular virus or bacteria. The antibodies remain in the blood post elimination of the infection to reduce likelihood of reinfection. But the level of these immune markers keeps on changing with time. And, that is what decides the possibility of relapsing of the infection.
Initially, we were only able to know if antibodies against a particular pathogen is present in a person’s body. But the new diagnostic test can find out about how long ago a person was exposed to an infection. This is significant as the information can help monitor the effectiveness of infection controlling programmes. Notably, viruses can remain in the body in dormant state for years and can reawaken after later causing the spread.
This means people can carry a virus like COVID-19 for years without getting detected and can start spreading the infection uncontrollably later. This can create a havoc which needs to be prevented at any cost. If we fail to do that, a much worse pandemic will be awaiting in the future.