Coming soon: A blood glucose test that checks COVID-19 antibodies

Coming soon: A blood glucose test that checks COVID-19 antibodies

Your next blood glucose meter reading could be a lot more revealing. In addition to confirming blood sugar levels, it might also determine the level of antibodies that protect against COVID-19.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a simple, accurate test that incorporates blood glucose monitoring and a novel fusion protein to detect the presence of certain antibodies.

As the fight against variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus rages on, knowing your antibody levels can be helpful. As one of the guardians against future COVID-19 infections, the level of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies has an influence on immune protection. For now, determining antibody levels requires specific testing by specialized technicians using expensive equipment.

That’s where glucose meters may soon come in. The devices, which are already available and require just a tiny blood sample, can be adapted to detect other target molecules. The Johns Hopkins scientists designed a unique protein containing two compounds that bind to human immunoglobin antibodies. When the new protein binds to those antibodies, the chemical reaction creates glucose, which is then read by the glucose meter.

They proved their findings by performing antibody analyses on a variety of human patient samples. The new test performed as well as four versions of current antibody protection tests.

While more testing must be done, researchers say the discovery is a key step toward widespread availability of immune-protection data to reveal levels of disease-targeted antibodies.

Before long, getting details about your COVID-19 antibodies could be as quick and easy as monitoring your blood sugar.

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