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The new COVID-19 antibody test for living with COVID

A new COVID-19 antibody test is being launched today to give people critical information for their vaccination plan, and allow many New Zealanders to answer the question, have I had COVID?

Rako Science is calling the test, ‘Test2Detect’, a new scientific and commercial strategic partnership with Auckland-based diagnostics company, Pictor.

The partnership combines Pictor’s best-in-class diagnostic technologies with Rako Science’s collection and analysis network to deliver New Zealanders a personalised antibody status.

“It’s important to give New Zealanders the latest cutting-edge science in a COVID world. People are able to make informed decisions and safeguard against the harmful effects of COVID on the body,” says Leon Grice, Rako Science.

The test detects if your body generates an immune response to COVID-19, or more specifically, if you have any circulating antibodies in response to the Spike Protein (SP) and Nucleocapsid Protein (NP) from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Viral infection triggers SP and NP antibodies. Vaccination triggers SP antibodies only. This test will be able to confirm whether your immunity is from vaccines or from viral infection.

Many people are curious as to whether they’ve had COVID. They could have been infected without symptoms and the detection of NP antibodies will confirm they were recently infected.

People can use the results to discover if their body has generated any antibodies at all or consider their vaccine booster options with their healthcare professional.

Individuals wishing to monitor changes to their antibody levels, if they go up, or how quickly they diminish overtime, can-do repeat testing every three months.

Its novel feature is the ability to separately detect antibodies from vaccines and natural infection in one test, providing greater data insights for clinicians and the public. This is the first test of its kind developed in New Zealand, enabling members of the public to purchase a typically expensive lab process at a reduced rate.

“A significant amount of investment has been made to bring this test to the market and our partnership with Rako Science increases accessibility to this important clinical tool for those in remote locations,” according to Pictor’s Chief Executive Officer Howard Moore.

Dr Anna Brooks, an immunologist from the University of Auckland is currently leading a study on long COVID and is a Pictor consultant says “This test can be useful for people who may be experiencing long COVID symptoms who haven’t had confirmation of infection. Timing your test since your infection is important, as NP antibodies wane faster than SP. However, not everyone generates detectable NP antibodies, but it will be worthwhile checking, just in case this helps confirm you’ve had COVID.”

The test will initially be made available in Rako Sciences Auckland CBD and Christchurch laboratory locations.

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