Neutralizing Antibodies: A Breakthrough for COVID-19 Monitoring

As our country continues to roll out its mass vaccination programs, it is important to know how our own body responds to these shots. One effective way of checking our immune response is by testing for our neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus.

What are neutralizing antibodies?

Neutralizing antibodies are antibodies which bind to a targeted part of a pathogen and have been observed in a laboratory setting to be capable of decreasing the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection of cells. This antibody subset is greatly contributive to building protective immunity against re-infection for many infectious pathogens. Detecting neutralizing antibodies can quantitatively assess the body’s immunity against future SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Neutralizing Antibodies vs. Binding Antibodies

The usual antibody tests that we typically use for diagnostics detect binding antibodies which do not necessarily diminish or eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), on the other hand, actively prevents infection by incapacitating the invading pathogens. The COVID-19 NAbs typically develop 1 to 2 weeks after infection. Beyond identifying previous COVID-19 infection like the common antibody tests, assay kits for NAbs can also determine our immune system’s capacity to combat the virus.

Purpose of Quantifying Neutralizing Antibodies

Neutralizing antibody test kits have been instrumental in research for the coronavirus’ epidemiology and our body’s immune response to it. In the context of COVID-19 vaccines, these kits could also provide significant information on their efficacy. By quantifying NAbs before and after vaccination shots, we could gain crucial data such as the antibody baseline, immune system reaction, and dosage efficacy evaluation.

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