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DU joins efforts to assess a coronavirus antibody test

Wayne Armstrong

Scientists at the University of Denver have assessed a new antibody test for COVID-19 that can predict if a patient will experience mild versus more severe symptoms of the virus. In February, the revolutionary test received an emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Testing will be performed at California-based Vibrant America Clinical Labs, which developed the test.

DU’s Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging collaborated with clinicians from Resilience Code, a Denver functional medicine and human performance clinic founded by neurosurgeon Chad Prusmack, to study the test, thus extending its use.

“This antibody test has more test points than others that have been approved by the FDA,” says Lotta Granholm-Bentley, founding executive director of the Knoebel Institute and one of the project’s lead researchers. “Other tests check for only a few viral antigens, whereas this one could test for as many as a dozen.”

Using the new test, researchers discovered different antibody profiles between those who tested positive for COVID-19 and had severe symptoms versus those with milder symptoms.

“We also discovered that individuals who have been vaccinated for the flu in the past year exhibited more mild symptoms than those who had not,” says Daniel Linseman, senior author of the research and associate executive director of the Knoebel Institute. “We found that individuals who experienced the loss of taste or smell also tested positive for COVID antibodies, making this symptom an important aspect of reporting in the clinic.”

The antibody test could be used to identify individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have been asymptomatic. These individuals may have antibodies that could protect them from re-infection.

“This breakthrough has the ability to give doctors a head start on treatment and speed up the process of diagnosing patients,” says Chancellor Jeremy Haefner. “I’m proud of this achievement by DU scientists and their collaboration with other researchers to make this important discovery.”

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