Fingerprints of infection

eAwaz Health

London – A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has received 370,000 pounds from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to develop a Covid-19 diagnostic test that would complement existing antibody tests and will objectively diagnose and monitor long Covid. Using the funding, the team developed a pilot project. Dr Mark Wills, from the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said: “We need a reliable and objective way of saying whether someone has had Covid-19. Antibodies are one sign we look for, but not everyone makes a very strong response and this can wane over time and become undetectable. We’ve identified a cytokine that is also produced in response to infection by T cells and is likely to be detectable for several months – and potentially years – following infection. We believe this will help us develop a much more reliable diagnostic for those individuals who did not get a diagnosis at the time of infection.” By following patients for up to 18 months post-infection, the team hopes to address several questions, including whether immunity wanes over time.