New blood test to check immunity
#GS3 #Science #Health
A global team of researchers has devised a new blood test to detect a person’s immunity to an infectious disease by indicating when a person was last exposed to the infection.
- The testing approach has been initially developed to track the spread of deadly, relapsing ‘vivax’ malaria, which is caused by plasmodium vivax, P. vivax, a parasite responsible for most cases of recurring malaria.
- The parasite can be carried in a dormant state by people and can later reawaken to continue spreading the disease, according to scientists.
- The scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia, Pasteur Institute, France, and Ehime University, Japan, who led the research, published their findings in science journal Nature Medicine.
- The information is crucial especially in countries most affected by malaria, including India, where it can help health authorities to track the disease spread and target resources where they are most needed.
- India bears 47% of the disease burden of malaria caused by P. Vivax, which is also associated with high mortality, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- The new diagnostic technique allows researchers to look in detail at the amounts of different antibodies in the blood to pinpoint when a person has been exposed to a particular infection.
- These antibodies can remain for years, but over time the amount of different types of antibodies changes.
- Understanding the level of immunity, especially in the case of covid-19 is important to make informed decisions about easing restrictions in certain areas and for reducing the risk of infection for rest of the population by detecting its silent spread.
- Studies show people who have recovered from covid-19 infection have antibodies to the virus.
- However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood.
- Also, there is no evidence to confirm if people who have recovered from the disease and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.