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Developing effective antibody tests for COVID-19

Developing effective antibody tests for COVID-19


Learn more about how researchers at Imperial College London are using antibody testing to support a national effort to understand the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Wednesday 8th July 2020 11:30
  • Event
  • Learn

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Event details

Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) is working at the forefront of research and patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this online event, part of our series of AHSC Covid-19 seminars, two experts will talk about their research to develop and assess antibody tests for COVID-19. The seminar will be live and open to all.

Professor Graham Taylor, Professor of Human Retrovirology in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London and Clinical Lead of the National Centre for Human Retrovirology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is part of a team carrying out antibody testing to assess if a person has previously been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

An antibody test is screening for antibodies in the blood. These tests look for a component of the immune system called an antibody, which the body produces to fight infection. These act as ‘record cards’ of any virus the body encounters, enabling the immune system to quickly recognise and destroy the virus upon reinfection.

The teams at St Mary’s Hospital and North West London Pathology based at Charing Cross Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, performs around 1,000 of these tests per day. The results will help indicate how many people had COVID-19 and recovered, including those who didn’t have symptoms.

Professor Helen Ward, Professor of Public Health at Imperial College London, is part of a national study to assess a number of different antibody tests to see how accurate they are and how easily people can use them at home.

The antibody tests were first carried out on volunteers from Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust who are known to have had the virus, to establish their accuracy. A group of 300 members of the public were then invited to perform a finger-prick antibody test at home to see how easy it was to use. The final phase is distributing the test to 100,000 people across England. Measuring the presence of coronavirus antibodies in the population could help us estimate how many people have been infected with the virus, while also improving our understanding of the immune response to the virus and informing public health policy and government testing strategy. 

When and where?

Wednesday 8 July 2020
11:30–12:30 BST

Online event - you will receive a link to join the online event after registering via Eventbrite.

How antibody testing can support our response to COVID-19

Watch the webinar recording - with Professor Graham Taylor

Watch the webinar recording - with Professor Helen Ward

Imperial College London

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